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Yvette Coppersmith, Self-Portrait after George Lambert. Click above for more images.

Sydney’s Art Gallery of New South Wales Announces 2018 Archibald Prize Winner

Yvette Coppersmith has won this year’s $75,000 Archibald Prize for her work Self-Portrait after George Lambert. The Archibald Prize is the largest art award in Australia and is given annually to the best portrait chosen by the board of trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney.

Coppersmith, a five-time Archibald Prize finalist, is the tenth female artist to win the prize since its creation in 1921. “Hearing of the win this morning my mind was scrambling to integrate the surreal news about something that’s been twenty years in the making,” the artist said. “I’m still trying to fathom it!”

A favorite of Coppersmith’s, Lambert was also a recipient of the Archibald Prize in 1927. “His style was academic, yet he supported the avant-garde in Australia and painted portraits of his artistic contemporaries Thea Proctor and Hera Roberts—both independent, self-possessed style-makers at a time of burgeoning female empowerment,” she said. 

In addition to the Archibald Prize, the Art Gallery of New South Wales announced that Yukultji Napangati is the recipient of the 2018 Wynne Prize, which is awarded to artists for their landscapes and figurative sculptures. She was recognized for her work Untitled and will receive $37,000. The artist is a member of the Papunya Tula Artists group, which comprises Aboriginal artists who hail from the Western Desert.

Napangati’s winning piece, Untitled, depicts Yunala, a rock hole and soakage water site situated among sandhills west of the Kiwirrkura community in western Australia. Commenting on the work, she said: “During ancestral times a group of women camped at this site. While at Yunala, the women camped beside the rock hole, digging for the edible roots of the bush banana or silky pear vine (Marsdenia australis), also known as yunala.” 

Indigenous artist Kaylene Whiskey, known for synthesizing contemporary pop culture and Aboriginal-style painting in his works, was also named the winner of the $30,000 Sir John Sulman Prize, for his piece Kaylene TV. “This is my painting about two strong kungkas (women),” Whiskey said. The piece features Cher and Dolly Parton in an interior setting that includes a big mingkulpa, a tobacco plant native to western Australia, and boomerangs hanging on the walls.

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