THE prestigious Archibald Prize portraiture exhibition will farewell Coffs Harbour on Saturday 6 March, with thousands of people visiting the highly anticipated exhibition since its opening on 23 January.
The Archibald Prize is one of the nation’s most popular, prestigious and oldest art awards, and its artworks reflect a who’s who of Australian life and showcase the artistic works of the country’s finest creative talents.
This is the first year the entire Archibald Prize exhibition has been on display at Coffs Harbour, with artworks hung at both Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery and at the Culture Hub upstairs at Coffs Central Shopping Centre.
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The decision to split the exhibition across two locations was due to the limited size of the Gallery for the exhibition.
Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery’s Cath Fogarty said the determination of the gallery team to ensure the community could experience the entire exhibition this year has paid off, with more than 8,000 people visiting the exhibition through the Culture Hub and more than 2,500 through the gallery.
“I’m sure that most of the 2,500 would have been through both locations,” Ms Fogarty said.
“The numbers are a great confirmation that our community and visitors want to experience more arts and culture here in the city centre.”
The Archibald Prize finalists were exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW before embarking on a year-long regional tour, stopping in Coffs Harbour.
Among the 2019 Archibald artworks on display were a magnificent painting of actor David Wenham titled ‘Through the looking glass’ which was awarded the 2019 Archibald Packing Room Prize, Ahn Do’s amazing portrait of artist George Gittoes which featured many individual painted scenes within his portrait, a contemplative portrait of Australian wheelchair tennis champion Dylan Alcott, and a portrait of media commentator Annabel Crabb.
Also giving the exhibition a fresh local flavour were portraits by the Coffs Coast’s next generation of artists, who entered the Coffs Harbour Young Archie Competition and were lucky enough to have their artworks displayed right alongside the famous Archibald finalists.
By Emma DARBIN