ARCHIBALD PRIZE: Artist Yvette Coppersmith in front of her winning painting 'Self-portrait, after George Lambert' with Lismore Regional Gallery director Brett Adlington. Ms Coppersmith said she is thrilled the gallery is hosting a touring exhibition of the 2018 finalists in Australia's most prestigious art prize for portraiture, The Archibald Prize, from April 18 to June 16, 2019.
ARCHIBALD PRIZE: Artist Yvette Coppersmith in front of her winning painting 'Self-portrait, after George Lambert' with Lismore Regional Gallery director Brett Adlington. Ms Coppersmith said she is thrilled the gallery is hosting a touring exhibition of the 2018 finalists in Australia's most prestigious art prize for portraiture, The Archibald Prize, from April 18 to June 16, 2019. Alison Paterson

Archibald tour lands in Lismore

AFTER New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern was unavailable, Yvette Coppersmith decided to paint a self-portrait for her fifth entry in the 2018 edition of Australia's most prestigious and controversial portrait competition, the Archibald Prize.

This decision saw her win the 2018 Archibald which she painted in the style of one of her favourite artists, George Lambert (1873-1930) who himself won the award in 1927.

At the Lismore Regional Gallery on Wednesday April 17 ahead of the exhibition opening, Ms Coppersmith stood next to her arresting self-portrait which dares the viewer to challenge their perception of who the artist is and how they see themselves.

A criteria for entries is that they must be painted in the past year from at least one live sitting.

The Melbourne artist is a veteran finalist of the prize, making the grade in 2008, 2009, 2016 and 2017.

She said as Ms Ardern wasn't available, she thought she might channel something of her in the self-portrait.

"Through her role she expands what an image of a young woman can signify," she said.

"Inspiring others to think beyond any perceived limits of their own image in relation to the contemporary political landscape."

Lismore Regional Gallery director, Brett Adlington, said securing the exhibition is a coup for the region.

"We are so excited to be able to present this much anticipated exhibition in our new gallery," he said.

"Already we are receiving so many queries from visitors further afield coming to Lismore.

"There is something incredibly unique about The Archibald Prize, in its ability to truly capture the imagination of not just the Australian art world, but the broader public."

The exhibition comprises portraits including actors Guy Pearce and David Wenham, singers Jimmy Barnes and Courtney Barnett, Murwillumbah local Ben Smith's portrait of Aboriginal artist Tony Albert and features 20 self-portraits including works by previous Archibald Prize winners Del Kathryn Barton and Guy Maestri.

Also on show are the Young Archies, the children's edition of the long-standing Archibald Prize competition and to coincide with the regional tour to Lismore, talented local youngsters had the opportunity to create a portrait of a 'special person' in their lives.

The Young Archies Competition winners in each category will be announced 12 May.