Artist Abdul Abdullah is a four-time Archibald Prize finalist, including his portrait of Anthony Mundine in 2013.
Artist Abdul Abdullah is a four-time Archibald Prize finalist, including his portrait of Anthony Mundine in 2013.

Prestigious portrait prize starts to take shape

SUBMISSIONS are starting to arrive at the Lismore Regional Gallery for this year’s Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize.

Gallery director Brett Adlington said he expected most of the paintings to arrive near to the closing date.

“We have started to receive submissions,” he said.

“Last time (2018) we received over 200 entries, and I sense this year we may be getting more as a number of artists have had more time to make work as a result of the COVID lockdown”.

Mr Adlington said he was very happy Sydney artist Abdul Abdullah will judge the winner.

“Abdul is certainly becoming one of Australia’s most prominent contemporary artists.

“He has been a finalist in The Archibald Prize and Sulman Prize a number of times, has exhibited in the Asia Pacific Triennial at Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art and has work included in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Australia; the Art Gallery of Western Australia; the Museum of Contemporary Art, NSW among many others.”

2018’s judge Dr Michael Brand selected Nicole Kelly’s Jumaadi + Clouds + Rain as winner of the Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize 2018 and Zom Osborne’s Who will Protect Us received a highly commended..
2018’s judge Dr Michael Brand selected Nicole Kelly’s Jumaadi + Clouds + Rain as winner of the Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize 2018 and Zom Osborne’s Who will Protect Us received a highly commended..

Mr Adlington said a story that resonated for him was Mr Abdullah’s account of how he first became interested in the idea of being an artist.

“He was 15 at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” he said.

“Living in Perth at the time, his mother, in wearing the hijab, rarely felt safe in public space.

“The one place she did feel safe was at the Art Gallery of WA, and as such they both spent a great deal of time in the galleries. This experience gave Abdul a growing interest in art, and the nature of the art museum playing a role in public space for people from marginalised communities.”

The Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize is a biennial prize open to artists Australia-wide for portraits of any subject in any medium.

This year’s winner will receive $10,000 as an acquisitive prize.

Entries close at 10pm on Thursday, August 27.

The exhibition will be on display from November 7, 2020, until January 31, 2021, at the Lismore Regional Gallery.

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