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Finalists revealed as KILGOUR PRIZE 2021 attracts record entries

Three local artists have made the cut from a record number of entries vying for honours in this year's prestigious KILGOUR PRIZE.


Newcastle Art Gallery received 476 works from artists across every state and territory in Australia, an increase of more than 100 entries from 2020 and the highest number overall in the 16-year history of one of Australia’s major art prizes.

Almost 2900 works have been entered into the KILGOUR PRIZE since it was established in 2006.

The field has been narrowed to just 30 finalists, whose works will be judged by a panel of experts including Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton, Campbelltown Arts Centre Head of CuratorialAdam Porter and the Head Teacher of Fine Art at Newcastle Art School, David Trout.

The KILGOUR PRIZE awards $50,000 for the most outstanding work entered into the annual competition, which is administered by Newcastle Art Gallery and funded by a bequest from artist Jack Noel Kilgour. An additional $5,000 is awarded to the painting voted most popular by the general public.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the record entries are testament to the esteem in which the prize and Newcastle Art Gallery are held within the artistic community.

“Since the KILGOUR PRIZE was established in 2006 its reputation within the art community has grown significantly," Cr Nelmes.

"Attracting almost 500 entries for this year's prize is an amazing achievement, with the diversity and quality of the works as impressive as ever.

"The COVID-19 global pandemic continues to impact those within our visual arts community, which makes the $50,000 prize and the opportunity to have their works showcased at Newcastle Art Gallery all the more valuable for the talented finalists."

Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton said the KILGOUR PRIZE presents some of the best examples of contemporary Australian portrait and figurative painting.

"The KILGOUR PRIZE encourages Australian artists to pursue and push the boundaries of portraiture and figurative painting," Ms Morton said.

"This year’s selected artists present diverse interpretations of the brief, resulting in a very dynamic exhibition with works focussing on everything from experiences in lockdown through to scenes of everyday life.

"The quality of the works will make the selection process all the more difficult, but that is a wonderful challenge to have."

Carrington resident Gillian Adamson has been named a finalist in her first year entering the KILGOUR PRIZE, with Merewether-based artists Nick Fintan and John Earle also on the list.

New South Wales and Victorian artists make up more than half of the 30 finalists, with works also coming from Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.

The exhibition will be on display from 13 August until 31 October, with People’s Choice voting open until 6 October.

The winner of the KILGOUR PRIZE 2021 will be announced on 13 August, with the People’s Choice prize awarded on 11 October.


Lisa Adams, Gillian Adamson, Matteo Bernasconi, Jackson Booth, Catherine Boreham, Julie-Ann Brown, Simon Brown, Daniel Butterworth, Emily Jayne Carroll, John Dahlsen, Archer Davies, Rachelle Dusting, John Earle, David Fairbairn, Nick Fintan, Christine Fontana, Miriam Fraser, Michael Lindeman, Nunzio Miano, Robert O'Connor, Nathan Paddison, Lori Pensini, Alice Pulvers, James R Randall, Zeljka Reljan-Music, Grace Kemarre Robinya, Paul Ryan, Jason Tolmie, Mick Turner and Mark Tweedie.

2021 JUDGES:

Lauretta Morton, Director Newcastle Art Gallery

Adam Porter, Head of Curatorial, Campbelltown Arts Centre

David Trout, Visual Artist, Head Teacher Fine Art, Newcastle Art School.


Jack Noel Kilgour (1900–1987) was an Australian artist well-known for his academic approach to landscape and portrait painting. In 1987 Kilgour bequeathed funds for the creation of a major figurative and portrait art competition to be run in perpetuity. As one of Australia’s major art prizes, Newcastle Art Gallery is proud to be the home of the KILGOUR PRIZE.

Image caption: Installation view KILGOUR PRIZE 2020 Newcastle Art Gallery 2020


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