Bega Valley Regional Gallery have announced the winner of the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award 2020. The award announcement was live streamed with artists, judges and public all connected via social media. Cameron Richards has beaten out an outstanding collection of 38 finalists to win the 2020 Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award.
Quite incredibly, Richards, who is based in Western Australia, has no formal art education and until now has used painting as a creative outlet that contrasts with his qualifications in physiotherapy.
His acrylic on canvas creation entitled ‘Miss Priya Premkumar’ attracted the acclaim of the National Portrait Gallery Director and guest judge, Karen Quinlan AM, who made the announcement tonight that was streamed due to the ongoing
Covid-19 situation. SHNPA 2020 guest judge Karen Quinlan AM, was impressed with the quality of all the finalists but reserved glowing praise for the winner, "The artist really captured a great portrait, it reflects on two different worlds and the challenge that Priya would have had juggling expectations of her family. I feel like I engaged with her and in a sense could almost talk with her. Everything is working and it’s definitely the winning portrait in the show.”
Richards, who picks up $50,000 (Australia’s richest prize for realistic portraiture) for his work, said the portrait explores his strong first impression of Priya who he describes as his superior at work and life.
“Three years into our friendship, the creation of this piece has been incredibly positive and admittedly tedious. My understanding of how Priya has come to be has deepened while painting as I have explored the complexities of her life: Australian, Sri Lankan and personal ideations, all intermingled and juxtaposed,” Mr Richards said. View the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award at the BVRG from July 25 to 11 September, 10- 4 Monday to Saturday Take a 3D tour of the exhibition HERE
Above: The winner of the 2020 Shirely Hannan National Portrait Award by Cameron Richards of Western Australia. Miss Priya Premkumar. Acrylic on canvas Photo: Bega Valley Regional Gallery