Young Archie artists exhibited alongside 2019 Archibald Exhibition finalists

Coffs Harbour Young Archie award winners Gabrielle Badger, Ally Cork, Arlia Portus Keen and Ava Birdie Gallagher (front) standing in front of the Young Archie artworks currently on display. Photo: and the trees photography.


WINNERS of the Young Archie youth portrait competition have been announced as the region celebrates the arrival of the prestigious 2019 Archibald Prize exhibition in Coffs Harbour.

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Entries for the Young Archie art competition were called for in August, 2020 from budding young artists in the region aged between five and eighteen years.

The competition theme was a portrait of a person who is special to you, who is known to you, or who plays a significant role in your life.

There were four age categories and the successful winners in these categories include Ava Gallagher (5-8yrs), Gabrielle Badger (9-12yrs), Arlia Portus Keen (13-15yrs), and Ally Cork (16-18 years).

Highly commended awards were given to Audrey James, Evie Henderson, Jude Moore, Tanisha Stainsby, Rory Osmond, Isabella de Roy-Blair and Kristabella Badman.

Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery’s Ashleigh Frost was ecstatic with the entries received from all the young artists, who showed skill and emotional maturity well beyond their years.

“We were blown away with the diversity of the styles that really showed the way the students were looking and responding to their chosen subjects,” Ashleigh said.

“As the entries came in it was really emotional to get a little glimpse into children’s worlds and what was important to them.

“Evident across many of the works was a response to COVID including adopting a dog, spending time with grandparents and activities at home.

“We also saw some self-portraits with students reflecting inwardly on their own qualities.”

Coffs Coast Young Archie winner (13-15yrs) Arlia Portus Keen has attended the Young Archies in Sydney four times and said it inspired her to enter the local competition.

Arlia has always loved art-making and shares her advice for other youths who want to try their hand at portraiture.

“Even if you don’t like it, you kind of just have to finish it because it might end up looking good and it doesn’t matter if it looks really realistic, it just has to show emotion,” Arlia said.

The Young Archies portraits showcase the varied faces of the Coffs Coast ranging from parents and siblings, to best friends and teachers.

Each portrait tells a story of the young artist’s relationship to a person important to them.

Judging the creations were local Artist and Educator Tori Donnelley, Art Therapist Emma Gentle, and Tiffany Townsend from the competition’s official sponsor, ANZ Coffs Harbour.

ANZ provided a $50 cash prize to each of the award winners, and Coffs Central also sponsored the exhibition.

All portraits entered into the Coffs Coast’s Young Archies competition are currently on display on the walls of Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery and at the Culture Hub in Coffs Central Shopping Centre until 6 March, right alongside portraits from finalists of the prestigious 2019 Archibald Prize competition currently on exhibition in Coffs Harbour until 6 March.

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2019 Archibald Prize winner Tony Costa (alongside his winning portrait on left) and his wife Jeannette Siebols with Coffs Harbour’s youngest Young Archie winner Ava Birdie Gallagher and her mother Jahnavi Swift. Photo: and the trees photography.

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