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Finalists short-listed for prestigious Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award

From more than 250 entries into the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award, 38 exceptional artists have been short-listed for final judging in July by National Portrait Gallery Director, Karen Quinlan.

“The calibre of this year’s entries is outstanding,” Bega Valley Regional Gallery (BVRG) Director Iain Dawson said.

“We have artists from every state and territory vying for this prestigious portraiture event; indicative of the great pulling power of the award’s reputation.

“I sincerely thank the incredible ongoing generosity of Peter Hannan, son of our eponymous patron, for his support of the BVRG and acknowledge his commitment to his late mother’s passion for realistic portraiture.”

Now in its 18th year, the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award offer $50,000 in prize money. The 38 finalists were chosen by a panel comprising Mr Dawson, Mr Hannan and South East Arts CEO Andrew Gray.

National Portrait Gallery Director, Karen Quinlan is guest judge for the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award 2020

Shirley Hannan was a gifted Bega Valley portraitist and a generous patron of the arts.

“She was very passionate about traditional portrait painting, which was her real field of interest and her passion," Mr Hannan said of his mother establishing the award.

A prerequisite for the award was made that those works selected to hang depict their subjects accurately without abstraction and demonstrate a sound skill and knowledge of drawing and painting technique. The award was established with a specific and unremitting realist bent, which continues to this day.

Mr Dawson said their guest judge, Ms Quinlan has a long and distinguished history of leadership in the visual arts; as an art gallery Director, a curator and arts manager, an educator and significant contributor to her own community.

“Ms Quinlan has a well-established commitment to portraiture,” Mr Dawson said.

“For the past 18 years, she has been Director of the Bendigo Art Gallery, serving as its Curator for three years prior to that.

“Under her leadership, the Bendigo Art Gallery is now recognised internationally for the quality of its exhibitions, many undertaken with overseas partners, such as the National Portrait Gallery in London.”

Mr Dawson said the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award contributes greatly to the standing of the Bega Valley Regional Gallery as a place of importance when it comes to the arts.

The winner of the award will be announced at a streamed launch event on Friday 24 July.

All 38 finalist portraits can be viewed on the Gallery website.