Archibald Prize

Finalists in the 2024 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize


We are delighted to share that Zaachariaha Fielding and Idiko Kovacs have been announced as finalists in the 2024 Wynne and Sulman Prizes.

Winner of the 2023 Wynne Prize, Zaachariaha Fielding has been named as a finalist in both the Wynne and Sulman Prizes. About his work in the Sulman Prize, Zaachariaha states: “I am one of nine children, Robert and Kay’s oldest. Since my birth, the songs of my Country have filled my soul. Alongside their beautiful lessons, came my responsibility to protect and celebrate this knowledge. These songs will always be the most immense joy of my life, my anchor and my kurunpa (spirit). They kept me safe as I grew up in one of the toughest places in Australia, amongst violence and sickness. While the brightest and loudest discussed how to close the gap, how to make First Nations people healthy and live another 20 years, Australia voted ‘no’. Some referred to my achievement of winning last year’s Wynne Prize as winning the lottery, as if it was a fluke. I’m left to wonder: will me and my mob ever have access to those ‘lucky numbers’?”

Zaachariaha Fielding, Who won the lotto?, synthetic polymer paint on linen, 200 x 152.4 cm

This work depicts the sounds of Paralpi, a special place found just outside of Mimili on the eastern part of the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, South Australia. ‘Paralpi is a place where people come to embrace and celebrate children,’ says Fielding. ‘They are taught by the Elders how to move and mimic their clan emblem, and, for Mimili, this has always been the maku (witchetty grub).’

Paralpi is an extension of Fielding’s previous Inma series (2019–23), which includes the titular work that won him the 2023 Wynne Prize. Fielding’s scratchy application of Pitjantjatjara text as a stylistic element used to outline and define Country also captures reverberations of bodies performing the act of inma (ceremonial song and dance).

‘When this inma is sung, the sounds of the soprano, alto, tenors and baritone are thick, hitting the heart and then returning to the ngura (country),’ Fielding describes. According to Fielding, who is also a finalist in the 2024 Sulman Prize, this is a cyclical process unique to Aṉangu culture, which celebrates one’s interconnectedness with the land.

Zaachariaha Fielding, Paralpi, 2023, acrylic and ink on canvas, 300 x 200 cm

About her work selected as a finalist in the Sulman Prize, Ildiko Kovacs shares: “Two-up is a gambling game played on Anzac Day. Tossing a coin upward and its inevitable falling are attributes of a certain kind of line. It isn’t a straight line, nor a singular line, but a line drawn from kinetic energy. A line fuelled with emotion, unpredictability and the excitement of chance.”

Ildiko Kovacs, Two-up, oil on wood, 220 x 90 cm

We would also like to extend our congratulations to Christopher Zanko who the gallery is excited to be working with in 2025.

Congratulations Zaachariaha, Ildiko, and all the finalists!

The Archibald, Wynne, and Sulman Prizes will be on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 8 June to 8 September 2024.



Finalists in the 2022 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize

The 2022 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Art Prize finalists have been announced! 

Richard Lewer  has been announced as a finalist for the Archibald Prize; and Clara Adolphs is a finalist in the Wynne Prize. Congratulations to Richard and Clara!

Presented by Art Gallery of New South Wales, the exhibition will run from 14 May – 28 August 2022.

The Archibald Prize, first awarded in 1921, is Australia’s favourite art award, and one of its most prestigious. Awarded to the best portrait painting, a who’s who of Australian culture – from politicians to celebrities, sporting heroes to artists.

This is the fourth time that Richard Lewer has been represented in the Archibald Prize with a portrait of Elizabeth Laverty. “And I will keep painting her for as long as she’ll let me, or until we win!” says Lewer, whose practice has long explored the endurance, consistency and discipline that is required as an artist.

Laverty and her late husband, Sydney pathologist Colin Laverty, built one of Australia’s most significant collections of contemporary art, while supporting the Indigenous communities they visited.

“Liz is not just involved in the arts; she has many facets to her life. It is an honour to deepen my understanding of her past, present and future with each passing year. Nowadays, Liz is more vulnerable in many ways than when I first met her, yet she remains vibrant and open. She is well-informed on contemporary issues, socially adept and outward-looking. Liz continues to give back,” says Lewer.

“I have painted her daily morning ritual, sitting at the breakfast table surrounded by newspapers, planning her day in her heavily inscribed diary.”

As part of a major commissioning program to celebrate the opening of the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ new building in late 2022, Lewer has created portraits of the many people involved in the construction of the Sydney Modern Project.

About this work Clara Adolphs shares: “I began painting clouds as a kind of backdrop for my figurative works, although they soon revealed themselves as the centrepiece. They are figurative beings, towering and monumental. Their formations are in a state of constant flux. The painting is one moment in their time of continuous change.

This particular cloud, a Cumulus congestus, was painted from a formation accumulating on the afternoon of Christmas Day, 2021. These clouds bring rain and unsettled weather, but from afar it was a perfect day.”

The exhibition will run from 14 May – 28 August 2022 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Finalists in the 2021 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize

The 2021 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Art Prize finalists have been announced! 

Richard Lewer has been announced as a finalist for the Archibald Prize; William Mackinnon has been announced as finalist in both the Archibald Prize and Wynne Prize; and Clara Adolphs and Ildiko Kovacs are both finalists in the Sir John Sulman Prize.

Presented by Art Gallery of New South Wales, the exhibition will run from 5th of June to 26th September 2021.

The Archibald Prize, first awarded in 1921, is Australia’s favourite art award, and one of its most prestigious. Awarded to the best portrait painting, a who’s who of Australian culture – from politicians to celebrities, sporting heroes to artists.

Richard Lewer, Liz Laverty, oil on canvas, 153.5 x 153 cm.

Of the work, Lewer says: “‘I met Liz not long after Colin died in 2013. Naturally our conversations then were mostly about loss and love. But over the years I’ve been painting Liz, I’ve seen steep changes in her energy, positivity and zest for life as she redefines herself,’ says Lewer.

“The women I know of Liz’s generation have an inner strength. It may be a generalisation, but after the loss of a partner they often seem to live more productive, happier lives than their male counterparts.

I have painted Liz wearing one of her signature polka-dot blouses. The highly vibrant colour palette reflects Liz’s warmth and liveliness, the yellow ochre enriching her red hair, pale complexion and blue eyes.”

William Mackinnon, Dark dad / extremis, acrylic, oil and enamel on linen, 200 x 150 cm.

Of the work, Mackinnon says: “Parenthood has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. However, at times, I have felt pushed to the edge,’ says Mackinnon.

‘There is no doubt that it’s harder for the mother who gives birth, breastfeeds and undergoes physiological and hormonal changes. That said, the father has to cope with the aforementioned and is in shock at the change to life as previously known!

While attempting a night feed, feeling completely frayed, I glimpsed myself in the mirror. In a near-hallucinatory state from interrupted sleep, I looked deranged. Then Lucky took the bottle and stopped crying, and I experienced peace and a delicious intimacy – a small moment of grace.

I wanted to convey how I felt in the handling of the paint – raw emotion and raw linen, my stained pyjamas stuck on, evoking the sharp shift in reality. My hair was painted straight from the tube, while the linen is indelibly stained with deep Prussian blue.”

The Wynne Prize was established following a bequest by Richard Wynne, who died in 1895, and first awarded in 1897, in honour of the official opening of the Gallery at its present site.

About the work, Mackinnon says: “In 2019, I made a large triptych about the Australian explorers Burke and Wills. This opened up a new territory for me. Adventure and folly (ii) references time spent in the powerful Kimberley region, but it is an invented landscape. For me, landscape painting is more about what is going on inside me.

Adventure and folly (ii) follows Australia’s ever-hotter summers and increasingly frequent, devastating fires. However, the black represents any unforeseen negative force, be it COVID-19 or any event that devastates one’s personal landscape. In 1983, when I was five, our family house burnt down in the Ash Wednesday bushfires, just two weeks after we moved in. Importantly, fire creates regeneration and opportunities for growth and change.”

William Mackinnon, Adventure and folly (ii), acrylic, oil and automotive enamel on linen, 258 x 200 cm.

The Sulman Prize was established within the terms of Sir John Sulman’s bequest, the prize was first awarded in 1936. Each year the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW invite a guest artist to judge this open competition.

Clara Adolphs, Spectators, oil on linen, left panel: 132.6 x 188.7 cm; right panel: 132.6 x 188.3 cm.

About the work, Clara Adolphs says: “My work explores the notion of time and memory. Fascinated by the question of what remains after a moment has passed, I often use abandoned anonymous photographs as the starting point for my paintings. Disconnecting from the subjects’ identities allows a focus on the indefinable, yet timeless, collective nature of the human experience.

Spectators began as three photographs. I was drawn to these images by their shared sense of suspense and anticipation. By weaving them together to make this diptych – a process of choosing what will remain and what I will omit – I have created a new context, while giving these figures a new life.”

Ildiko Kovacs, Aquine, oil on board, 240 x 120 cm.

About the work, Kovacs says: “Over the last few years, I have been looking more at sculpture, which has influenced my paintings. I paint using a foam roller, which lends itself to making a more solid line. As part of my process, I rework the line intuitively, finding form and rhythm simultaneously with colour. I remould the line, weave it, stack it and reconstruct it until I reach a wholeness in the making, attaining a feeling that sits comfortably in my physicality as well as in what I see.”

 Exhibition runs 5th June to 26th September 2021