15 October 2007

A who’s who of established and emerging Australian artists are in the running for the nation’s first self-portrait prize, which has been established by The University of Queensland and will be announced on October 20.

Among those vying for the $40,000 award are five Archibald Prize winners: Davida Allen, John Beard, Adam Cullen, Euan Macleod and Wendy Sharpe.

After judging, the 30 works will be on show at the UQ Art Museum, complementing the existing collection of self-portraits, which is the only one of its kind in the country.

“During the past three years, the University’s self-portrait collection has grown to include a remarkable range of historical and contemporary works, representing artists from Rupert Bunny, Jeffrey Smart and Ray Crooke to Mike Parr, Tracey Moffatt and Xiao Xian Liu,” UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor John Hay, AC, said.

“The prize will not only provide an opportunity to build on this collection, but also unequivocally promote self-portraiture as an artform.”

UQ Art Museum director Nick Mitzevich said the competition and subsequent exhibition would provide a unique perspective on how artists perceive themselves and their work.

“Self-portraits are compelling, not simply because of the insight they give us into how artists see themselves, but also because of what they say about the world they live in – incorporating all of the contemporary debates about representation and identity,” he said.

The inaugural prize will be judged by the director of the National Portrait Gallery Mr Andrew Sayers, with the winner announced on October 20 at 10.00 am.

Members of the public are invited to view the exhibition after the official launch and, at 11.30 am, hear artists including Juan Ford, Nerissa Lea, Jiawei Shen and Michael Zavros speak about their work.

Generously supported by the Margaret Hannah Olley Foundation, the invitation-only event will be held every second year, with all works entered to be available for acquisition by the University.

The National Artists’ Self-Portrait Prize 2007 will be on show at the UQ Art Museum, University Drive, St Lucia, from October 20, 2007 to February 10, 2008. Admission is free.
Media: Peter Liddy at the UQ Art Museum (07 3365 9782, p.liddy@uq.edu.au) or Cameron Pegg at UQ Communications (07 3365 2049, c.pegg@uq.edu.au)