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Entries open for $50,000 portrait award

Entries open for $50,000 portrait award

Entries are now open for the Bega Valley Regional Gallery's 2018 Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award. This biennial non-acquisitive award has been running since 2002 and is now calling for entries for its 2018 award and exhibition. 

Entries close midnight Friday 14th September, finalists will be announced by Friday 28 September, 2018. Finalists will be chosen by a selection panel of independent art professionals and the prize patron, Peter Hannan, son of the late Shirley Hannan. The exhibition will be held between 26th October to 8th December 2018. 

The Prizes

  • The Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award $50,000

The SHNPA will be awarded to the "Best portrait painting in any 2D medium (but excluding photography, digital media or bas relief) being a realistic depiction of a particular living person".

  • People's Choice $3,000

Visitors are invited to vote for their favourite portrait over the duration of the Award's exhibition at Bega Valley Regional Gallery. The winner of the People's Choice Award will be announced at the conclusion of the exhibition.

  • Mailroom Prize $500

The Mailroom prize will be selected by the Records staff of the Bega Valley Shire Council.


History of the award: 

One of Australia's most loved and richest portrait awards, the biennial Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award celebrates realistic portraiture in memory of our eponymous patron. 

Hannan, a gifted portraitist, and well known in the Bega Valley as a staunch supporter and generous patron of the arts, funded the John Balmain National Award for Portraits and Figure Drawing from 1993 until she re-established it in her own name in 2002 with a substantially increased first prize of $15,000.

A prerequisite for the award was made that those works selected to hang depict their subjects accurately without abstraction and demonstrate a sound skill and knowledge of drawing and painting technique. The award was established with a specific and unremitting realist bent, which continues to this day.

Before her death in 2005, Hannan doubled the prize purse to $30,000 and it was decided to discard the figure drawing component of the prize, concentrating on portraiture alone.

Hannan's husband, Brian Settle, established the Shirley Hannan Trust to perpetuate the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award as a biennial, national portrait prize with a focus on accurate depiction.

In 2012, Hannan's son Peter, himself a talented photographer, paid further tribute to his mother's memory with a generous personal donation of an additional $20,000 bringing the prize purse for subsequent awards to $50,000.

For more information on guidelines, how to enter, and the exhibition, visit the Bega Valley Regional Gallery website here. 


Image: 2016 finalist Mathew Lynn, Inevitability (David Leha / Radical Son), oil on linen, 188 x 168cm

Entries open for $30,000 photography prize

Entries open for $30,000 photography prize

Writing NSW Grants now available

Writing NSW Grants now available