‘Artists chronicle our times’: gallery ready for Archibald
The Archibald Prize takes its finalists on the road to regional areas every year, and this year it's coming to the Tweed.
When her gallery makes the list for the regional tour, Tweed Regional Gallery director Susi Muddiman is delighted.
"It's a thrill because we'd all want the Archibald to be here more often," Ms Muddiman said.
Vincent Namatjira claimed this honour with his depiction of Adam Goodes in the work Stand Strong for Who You Are.
The exhibition will open at the gallery in Murwillumbah this Friday and she said work was well under way to get the finalist works in place before Thursday night.
An extra joy of the prize travelling to the Tweed is the fact two North Coast artists, Angus McDonald and Craig Ruddy, are among the finalists.
"It says a lot about our region and the acknowledged talent that lives and works where we live," Ms Muddiman said.
She said the exhibition they took down to make space for the Archibald was a collection of work from "well known Australian artists who happen to live here" and those who have painted while on the Tweed.
Mr McDonald's portrait of refugee, journalist and writer Behrouz Boochani has been named People's Choice.
"I've always maintained that artists chronicle our times," Ms Muddiman said.
"They paint about what is happening now, it's a social commentary.
"It's very much a topic that's at the forefront of people's minds at the moment."
She said Mr Boochani's story was a "poignant subject" but the super-realistic painting is also artistically striking.
"From an artistic point of view … you gravitate towards him," she said.
"Representational portraiture always strikes a cord with visitors or audiences.
"I love the voyeurism of portraiture.
"It's not as if we know, personally, the sitter but it feels like we've got a connection with them."
The Archibald Prize 2020 will be exhibited at the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre, 2 Mistral Rd South Murwillumbah, from January 22 to March 7.
The Young Archie competition, featuring young artists from across parts of the Northern Rivers and Gold Coast, will be on show simultaneously.