Youth Winners Announced for WA Portrait Prize – The Lester Prize

POSTED ON 12 November

Seventeen-year-old high school student, Sarah Hoey from Kalamunda Senior High School has taken out the 1st Prize in the Years 11 – 12 category of The Lester Prize Youth Awards with her portrait of her police officer father titled The night shift. Taking out the 2nd and 3rd prizes in the Years 11 – 12 category were John XXIII College year 11 student Bailey Arundell for his family self-portrait titled Generation Z and year 11 student Amy Greenash from Tranby College with her portrait of her mother titled Beneath the surface.

The 1st prize winners in the remaining aged categories were:
• Cindy Wang from Applecross Senior High School (Years 9 – 10)
• Ayda Paterson from Mount Lilydale Mercy College VIC (Years 7 – 8).

More than 200 young and aspiring artists from across Australia entered this popular portrait prize this year, submitting portraits of an Australian, or Australians, that they respect or admire, or a self-portrait. A total prize pool of over $6,000 was awarded to students in years 7 – 12 in three age group categories thanks to the generosity of the Stan Perron Charitable Foundation, Oxlades Art Supplies Perth, Lions Club City of Perth and Arts Edge Photo & Frame. Winners and runners-up will receive cash, gift vouchers and art supplies to help them further their art practice.

Schools were also eligible to win half or full day workshops valued at $1,500 with an award-winning professional artist. This year, these were awarded to John Curtin College of the Arts and John XXIII College respectively.

These winning students and schools were announced at an awards ceremony at Brookfield Place in Perth CBD last night where the Youth works are currently on public display until 27 November 2020. They are located in Tower 2, 123-125 St Georges Terrace Perth.

The judges Peteris Ciemitis, Jenny Haynes and Sharmila Wood commented “These young artists have created an exceptional body of work that reveals their confident and impressive technical and creative abilities. They have provided unique personal, social and cultural insights, highlighting the importance of the connection between people and place. Their works are conceptually interesting, feature sophisticated compositions and celebrate the original and fresh perspectives of this emerging generation of artists.”

Judges’ comments on the individual students’ works:
Sarah Hoey | Years 11-12 1st Prize Winner for The night shift: This is a moving and strong work that expertly shares a moment of exhaustion in an intimate and recognisably domestic setting, the indirect gaze, the sense of emotional reflection, the lighting to highlight the weathered and tired features remind the viewer to empathise for people who work tirelessly in difficult positions. The consideration of the composition is subtly sophisticated, using elements such as the sitter’s arms to lead the viewers eye through the painting, and the tonal application is exceptional, demonstrating masterful rendering of light, shade and value. “

Cindy Wang | Years 9-10 1st Prize Winner for Solo: “The powerful focus on the face is expertly painted, with subtle tonal and varied colour combinations that build up the complexity of the face, and convey the complexity, life and detail of a woman who gives to others. The work exhibits a range of mark-making; brush strokes, maturely applied that demonstrate restraint and careful consideration at one moment, a loose abandon the next moment. A moving portrayal of a person of significance in the artist’s life.”

Ayda Paterson | Years 7-8 1st Prize Winner for Promise you won’t forget: “This work is a tender portrayal that celebrates life and loss, luminously painted with a delicate balance of realism, impressionistic modelling and sensitive brush strokes, the attention to the delicate singlet and the enquiring gaze draws the viewer’s attention.”

In the main competition of The Lester Prize, Serena Cowie from Victoria with her portrait of her two friends entitled The conversation was the 2020 winner. Serena, along with other Main Awards winners were announced last week at a ceremony at the Art Gallery of WA (AGWA), where the 40 finalists’ works will remain on public display until 29 November 2020 in the historic Centenary Galleries.

Winners of the 2020 The Lester Prize Youth Awards:

Yrs 11-12 | 1st Prize Sarah Hoey Age: 17 years | School Year: 12
School: Kalamunda Senior High School
Yrs 11-12 | 2nd Prize Bailey Arundell Age: 17 years I School Year: 12
School: John XXIII College
Yrs 11-12 | 3rd Prize Amy Greenash Age: 16 years | School Year: 11
School: Tranby College
Yrs 9-10 | 1st Prize Cindy Wang Age: 15 years | School Year: 10
School: Applecross Senior High School
Yrs 9-10 | 2nd Prize Danielle Skarratt Age: 15 years | School Year: 10
School: John Curtin College of the Arts
Yrs 9-10 | 3rd Prize Henry Baker Age: 16 years | School Year: 10
School: Great Southern Grammar
Yrs 7-8 | 1st Prize Ayda Paterson Age: 13 years | School Year: 7
School: Mount Lilydale Mercy College
Yrs 7-8 | 2nd Prize Jingxi Liu Age: 13 years | School Year: 8
School: Rossmoyne Senior High School
Art School: Du FN Academy of Fine Arts
Yrs 7-8 | 3rd Prize Yingxin Zheng Age: 12 years | School Year: 7
School: Applecross Senior High School
Art School: Du FN Academy of Fine Art

Yrs 10-12 | 1st Prize John Curtin College of the Arts
Yrs 7-9 | 1st Prize John XXIII College


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The Lester Prize is managed by The Lester Inc, a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2007 to provide an avenue for artists to exhibit works of portraiture within Western Australia. With an annual prize pool worth over $75,000, it is now one of the nation’s most recognised and prestigious art prizes.

Working with government, peak arts bodies and community groups, it plays a critical role in helping to diversify WA’s local economy, grow cultural tourism, and activate spaces through creative placemaking. The Lester Prize is proud to provide locals and visitors with the opportunity to engage with the best of the artform each year in a format that puts the artists and community front-and-centre.

The Lester Prize’s exhibitions and public events program is targeted at diverse groups in the community and includes artist floor talks, workshops, live art demonstrations and pop-up community activations across the city.
The Prize advocates for Australian art and artists through a full month-long exhibition season which includes:
• Main Exhibition of original artworks at AGWA
• Youth Exhibition of original artworks at Brookfield Place
• Salon des Refusés and Youth Exhibitions at Perth Cultural Centre and Brookfield Place
• Public Workshops and Pop Up Portrait Displays at various locations throughout the Perth CBD.


2020 Exhibition Season at Art Gallery WA, Brookfield Place, Perth Cultural Centre, Yagan Square & various locations around Perth CBD Sat 31 Oct – Sun 29 Nov 2020
2020 People’s Choice Prize (Adult) Winner & winning voter announced Wed 2 Dec 2020 (5pm AWST)