People’s Choice Winner Announced for WA Portrait Prize

POSTED ON 11 December

Jordan Andreotta from Perth WA with his work Sr Flora is the winner of the 2019 People’s Choice Award of Australia’s premier portrait prize – The Lester Prize.  Jordan wins $7,500 cash kindly donated by the Baldock Family who have been involved with the prestigious prize for the past four years.

Leonie and Tim Baldock said “Being the sponsors of the People’s Choice Award is a great honour, as this award represents the desires of our fellow Western Australians who each have the chance to vote for it. The arts are an integral part of any community and the development of the arts is something that our family is passionate about.”

More than 4,353 people cast their vote in the People’s Choice Award, which was available online and at the Art Gallery of WA’s (AGWA) Centenary Galleries exhibition of the 40 finalists. Jordan was a clear winner receiving nearly 10% of the total votes submitted and said he was “absolutely thrilled to hear the news”.  A winning voter was also drawn, and took home a $100 AGWA Shop Voucher, an Estelle Display Lamp valued at $979 donated by The Montauk Lighting Co. plus a 6 weeks’ Home Base Interior Design Course for 2 people valued at $700 donated by Home Base Perth in Subiaco.

Jordan Andreotta Sr Flora 2019. Graphite and pencil on paper, 41 x 55 cm

Artist Statement

I first met Sr Flora in 2017 when I began teaching at Iona Presentation College. There was an immediate sense of warmth and welcoming about her. Sr Flora has recently retired, after being a significant and influential member of the College for the past thirty years. My portrait aims to depict Sr Flora in a contemplative pose—capturing a presence that she has become renowned for by staff, students and the community. Her gaze and facial expression—as she looks back on all of her experiences—reflects a life of compassion, joy and purpose.

The other award winners of The Lester Prize in 2019 included:

  • Liam Nunan from NSW with his portrait Jonny Hawkins – The Richard Lester Prize for Portraiture of $50,000 plus Singapore Airlines airfares valued at $7,320 (selected by Judges);
  • Two Highly Commended prizes (selected by Judges) of $1,000 cash, $250 art supplies plus one economy class return ticket valued at $3,660 each going to Jeff Bryant from WA with his self-portrait titled Lazarus, and Nicole O’Loughlin from TAS with her self-portrait titled The artist Mother is present;
  • Lori Pensini from WA for her portrait Banksia grandis—love begets love – $10,000 Tony Fini Foundation Artist Prize (selected by artists’ peers).

This award announcement brings to a close The Lester Prize’s exhibition season at AGWA.  This event has seen more than 900,000 people over the month-long season view, learn and participate in the art of portraiture throughout the Perth CBD, including the 40 main award finalists featured in AGWA’s Centenary Galleries, Salon des Refusés and Youth Award works at Brookfield Place, artist floor talks, big screen displays, outdoor art pop ups, and live art demonstrations. 

Chair of The Lester Inc Board John Langoulant said that “the Prize’s celebration of portraiture grows in size and reach each year. The diverse cultural and personal narratives presented really gave us a snapshot of our contemporary world today—the works uncovered stories of self-reflection, struggle over hardship and unique insights of both our artists and their subjects.

More than 500 artists from throughout Australia entered the main competition, and our art workshops and floor talks were as popular as ever, as were our collaborative live outdoor pop up portrait sessions with celebrity sitters from the Black Swan State Theatre Company of WA, Perth International Jazz Festival and Perth Symphony Orchestra. Our ongoing partnership with Starlight Livewire’s program at the Perth Children’s Hospital is an initiative very close to our hearts, and our Youth Award continues to inspire the next generation of artists with more than 250 talented high school aged students entering the competition from across Australia.

The Lester Prize also worked with Mind the Change Inc to deliver high quality arts-based self-development workshops involving people living with dementia and their support networks, helping us make art accessible for all.

All of this activity made for an exciting and busy month-long exhibition season and we thank all of our sponsors, supporters, donors and volunteers, as well as our Exhibition Partners AGWA and Brookfield for their ongoing support and collaboration with The Lester Prize.”

Selected works from The Lester Prize Main Awards Exhibition will now take part in a touring exhibition of three of St John of God Health Care hospital campuses located at Murdoch, Mt Lawley and Midland. The works will be on public display from 20 December 2019 until 5 February 2020. 

Formally known as The Black Swan Prize for Portraiture, this award is now in its thirteenth year. It was renamed in 2019 in honour of the award’s leading patron, Richard Lester AM. The Lester Prize total prize pool available to emerging and professional artists is now over $77,000, making it one of Australia’s most prestigious art competitions.