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  • May 14, 2018

Yvette Coppersmith wins 2018 Archibald Prize

Melbourne-based artist Yvette Coppersmith has been announced as this year’s Archibald Prize winner. Coppersmith is the 10th female artist to cinch the prize in its 97-year history. She received the AUD 100,000 (USD 75,570) cash award at Sydney’s Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) on May 11. 

Her winning entry—a self-portrait—was unanimously chosen by the AGNSW trustees. Titled Self-portrait, After George Lambert (2018), it references the academic painting style of 1927 Archibald Prize recipient and one of Coppersmith’s favorite artists, George Lambert. Coppersmith said she was inspired by the “independent, self-possessed style-makers at a time of burgeoning female empowerment.” The artist, a five-time finalist of the prestigious competition for portrait painting, has previously depicted former president of the Australian Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs, among other prominent figures. For her submission this year, she had originally wanted to paint Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand. "Ardern wasn't available, but I thought I might channel something of her in my self-portrait," said Coppersmith.  

AGNSW also announced the winner of the Wynne Prize, for the best landscape painting of Australian scenery, to Indigenous artist Yukultji Napangati, who took home the AUD 50,000 (USD 37,780) award. His acrylic painting Untitled (2018) is of the Yunala, a rock hole and water site in Western Australia.

Judged by artist Angela Tiatia, the AUD 40,000 (USD 30,220) Sulman prize, granted in acknowledgment of the best subject painting, went to Indigenous artist Kaylene Whiskey for her playful acrylic painting Kaylene TV (2018), which depicts Cher and Dolly Parton, “two strong women,” in the artist’s words, dancing and singing in a living room.  

This year also marks the launch of the Roberts Family Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Prize. It awards AUD 10,000 (USD 7,550) annually to an Indigenous finalist of the Wynne Prize. Nonagenarian Wawiriya Burton is the recipient of the inaugural award. 

All of the winning works and finalist’s entries will be displayed in an exhibition at the Gallery from May 12 to September 9, 2018.

Kayo Chang Black is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.

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