One of Australia's most loved and richest Portrait Awards returns in 2016.
Entries open 20/12/15
Exhibition at Bega Valley Regional Gallery
17 June - 20 August 2016
2014 Winner| Shaun Gladwell | Portrait of Meyne Wyatt/Black Digger | oil on canvas | 2 x 85 x 85cm
'I am thrilled to be awarded the Shirley
Hannan National Portrait Award. The news comes only moments before stepping on a plane back to Sydney from London and I can't think of better news to receive before the long flight. The work I submitted to the prize had great personal significance – a diptych of my friend Meyne Wyatt. I have wanted to paint a portrait of this talented young and, of course, handsome actor ever since I met him in early 2013. I had seen Meyne perform on stage in Sydney and with the encouragement of film producer Kathryn Slattery, decided to cast him in my short segment in the feature film 'The Turning', based on the Tim Winton collection of short stories. It was a joy to work with Meyne on this project. In his performance, I saw an immense talent and knew I had met a man at the beginning of an incredible career. I was deeply moved after seeing Meyne play a WW1 soldier in 'Black Diggers' at the Sydney Opera House. The play and his performance is one of the single most powerful live theatrical performances I have experienced anywhere in the world.
I was now determined to paint Meyne's portrait in costume as a black digger. Luckily, he agreed! The diptych aims to not only honour a talented young Australian actor but also to serve as a meditation on the subject matter of Meynes performance – the service and sacrifice of Australian Indigenous soldiers in WWI (and beyond), on the eve of the ANZAC centenary.
I would like to thank Jamie North for helping me document Meyne in costume and also thanks to the Sydney Theatre Company for allowing me access to Meyne and the stage during a very busy time for them. Thanks also to my mate Meyne who was very patient with my sketches and photos.
It is a great surprise for me to hear of this wonderful result and I wish to thank the organisers of the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery and also the judge, Dr. Sarah Engledow.
Shaun Gladwell June 2014