2018 Archibald, Wynne + Sulman Prize Winners Announced!

Congratulations to Yvette Coppersmith, Yukultji Napangati and Kaylene Whiskey, who have been awarded the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes respectively.

First awarded in 1921, the Archibald Prize is given to an Australian artist for the best portrait painting, judged by the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW. This year’s $100,000 Archibald Prize went to Yvette Coppersmith for her painting Self-portrait, after George Lambert – chosen from 793 entries 57 finalists. In her winner’s speech, the artist reflected on the first self-portrait she painted from a mirror at school, noting the enduring personal significance of this genre in her art practice. The artist says, ‘It allows me to work from life, with intense absorption in the painting process… In referencing George Lambert’s style, it’s like an outfit slipped on, creating a fixed image of an ever-changing self’. Fittingly, Coppersmith took a selfie in front of the crowd during the award ceremony; representing a contemporary collusion of ‘selfie culture’ and the traditional ‘self-portrait’. This is the fifth painting Coppersmith has had in the Archibald Prize.

From a pool of 695 entries and 46 finalists, Yukultji Napangati was awarded the Wynne Prize, which honours the best landscape painting of Australian scenery, or figure sculpture. Napangati’s untitled painting is associated with Yunala, a rock hole and soakage water site among sandhills west of Kiwirrkura in Western Australia. ‘During ancestral times a group of women camped at this site’ reflects the artist, ‘while at Yunala, the women camped beside the rock hole, digging for the edible roots of the bush banana or silky pear vine (Marsdenia australis), also known as yunala. The lines in the work represent both the sandhills surrounding the site as well as the yunala tubers underground. The women later continued their travels east, passing through Marrapinti, Ngaminya and Wirrulnga on their way to Wilkinkarra’.

Kaylene Whiskey’s acrylic painting Kaylene TV was awarded the $40,000 Sulman Prize, which is given to the best subject painting, genre painting or mural. This year’s invited judge was artist Angela Tiatia, who selectedWhiskey’s painting from 17 finalists. About her winning work, Whiskey notes, ‘this is my painting about two strong kungkas (women). Cher is singing a song on the microphone; she is having a great time because her boots have silver spurs and are really tall above her knees. Dolly Parton is wearing the pink overalls with pockets. Dolly has been skateboarding at the shops. She must have bought that Christmas present for Cher because they are good friends, they like to sing together! Kaylene TV is playing some good songs like Rage, and there is a big mingkulpa (local native tobacco) plant growing underneath the good boomerangs.’

The 2018 Packing Room Prize went to Jamie Preisz; Wawiriya Burton was awarded the Roberts Family Prize and the Trustees’ Watercolour Prize went to Phillip Edwards.

Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes
12 May – 9 September, 2018
Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney

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