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Madeleine Peters' portrait of Kirra DiConza

WDEA Warrnibald Portrait Exhibition and Prize entries open

News Article Date: 
Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Entries for South West Victoria’s most prestigious portraiture arts prize are now open, providing the region’s artists an opportunity to showcase inspiring members of the local community, as well as the importance art plays in fostering social inclusion. 

The WDEA Warrnibald Portrait Exhibition and Prize began in 2012 to celebrate the contribution South West residents made to their local community. 

A partnership project involving WDEA and the Warrnambool Art Gallery (WAG), the annual exhibition offers a prize purse of $4000, awarded via judges’ selections and a coveted People’s Choice Award. 

Inspired by the prestigious Archibald Portrait Prize – which was founded by the son of Warrnambool Museum and Art Gallery founder and philanthropist Joseph Archibald – the Warrnibald raises funds for and awareness of WDEA’s ArtLink program, an arts therapy initiative run via the organisation’s community day services division for people living with a disability or disadvantage.

Portrait subjects can be anyone who has made contributions in the areas of culture, charity, business, science, health, education, sport or politics in South West Victoria or has represented the region nationally or internationally.

This year, submitted artwork can be produced using any two-dimensional medium such as felt, paper, paint, textiles on canvas or museum board, printmaking or photography.

WAG Director Murray Bowes said that he was looking forward to seeing the Warrnibald entries arrive.

“Now that practically any two-dimensional medium is allowed, I am very intrigued to see what our region’s artists will come up with,” he said.

“The only limits on the medium are that it needs to be two-dimensional and able to be wall mounted with D-rings. Apart from that, how and what you use to create your portrait is up to you.

“The Warrnibald is a terrific exhibition as not only are the works of so many talented local artists on display, the significant contributions that South West Victorians make in all fields are highlighted to the wider community.”

WDEA Enterprises Manager Jack Melican pointed out that the outcomes of the Warrnibald were more than funds for the ArtLink program, cash for local artists and celebration of community leaders.

“The Warrnibald is also a way in which we can acknowledge the significant impact art has on the local community,” he said.

“We see first-hand via our ArtLink program that art is a way to encourage and foster public dialogue, engagement in the community and to make sense of life, via colour and creativity. The Warrnibald is another way we can achieve this and share it with the wider community.” 

Entries close on July 16, with all portraits on display to the public from July 22 until August 20.

In 2016, judges chose Megan Cheyne and Madeleine Peters as joint winners with their portraits of Warrnambool art teacher Ollie Morgan and Deakin University marine biology student Kirra DiConza respectively.

Liz Gannon won the People’s Choice Award for her portrait of musician Cooper Lower.

For more information or to download an entry form, visit

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