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2020 Warrnibalds - we have a winner!

News Article Date: 
Saturday, 25 July 2020

Karen Richards is the winner of the 2020 Warrnibald portrait prize for her extraordinary embroidery portrait of fellow artist, Des Bunyon.

The winners were announced on July 24 via video with COVID-19 behind the decision to celebrate the award through a digital award ceremony.

Guest judges, Simon Lawrie, Curator McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery Simon Lawrie, independent artist Carmel Wallace Aand rtistic Director Hamilton Gallery Joshua White, praised Ms Richards work, entitled simply "Des". 

“While small in scale, Karen Richard's embroidery titled 'Des' is meticulously executed in vibrant detail. The delicate intimacy of the embroidery craft relates to the close personal involvement of the portrait's sitter Des Bunyon and his importance to the community fabric of Warrnambool,” Mr White said. 

Ms Richards said Des Bunyon was "simultaneously a quiet force and a harmony for Warrnambool. His contributions are many and likely far more than anyone knows."

”Des is an adventurer, musician, visual artist, film lover, art curator, working bee contributor, artist, pet lover, art collector, song writer, advocate, enthusiast and behind the scenes contributor as well as life partner to the similarly wonderful Helen. Des can be found at openings, performances, film, markets and community consultations. His friendly smile and enchanting stories are a welcome encounter. His presence and beautiful singing voice weave this place together.”

Ms Richards received $2000 as part of the prize.

Second prize of $500 was awarded to Elisabeth Claire Macrae-Drylie for her portrait titled “The Terrier” featuring local journalist Carol Altmann.

“So many facets of character are revealed through contemplation of this rather unorthodox portrait with its carefully selected array of objects skilfully brought together to create a compelling statement of tribute to a person the artist obviously holds in high esteem,” Ms Wallace said.

Ms Gerrans said holding a digital award ceremony helped ensure that artists, sitters and public were able to safely participate in the awards presentation.

She congratulated this year’s 46 artists and their subjects.

"The portraits in this exhibition are all extremely accomplished and a fantastic display of the strength of South West artists,” she said.

“Warrnambool should be very proud. It is the people who do their jobs exceptionally well and the volunteers who go beyond the call of duty that makes Warrnambool a vibrant city.”

The Warrnibald Prize 2020 is presented in partnership with WDEA Works and helps to raise funds for WDEA’s ArtLink program, which assists people of all abilities to achieve their potential.

WDEA Works Chief Executive Officer Tom Scarborough  said WDEA Works was delighted to partner with The WAG to present  Warrnibald Prize.

"This is my first year viewing the Warrnibald and I’m just blown away by the exhibition," Mr Scarborough said.

"It is wonderful to see the talent of artists and the stories, both humble and exceptional of our South West community members depicted through these portraits.

"As a part of our ArtLink program, we encourage people with a disability to express themselves visually through art in a supported environment.

"The Warrnibald is a great platform for artists to display their work and connect with the community.”

Included in this year’s show are a wide variety of local identities, from front line nurses to social workers and advocates for diversity and social justice.

The Warrnibald Prize 2020 is available to view at the Warrnambool Art Gallery as well as online via

Voting for the 2020 Archibool, People’s Choice Prize is now open online and in the gallery and will close Sunday, September 6 at 10am, the winners will be announced on the same day at 2pm.

Archibool voting can be done by visiting The WAG or online at


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