One of Queensland’s largest art prizes, the Brisbane Portrait Prize, received an enthusiastic reception at its Artists’ Launch at Brisbane’s Howard Smith Wharves on Sunday 24 February.

The Brisbane Portrait Prize, with prize money of more than $70,000, was launched to more than 200 artists and guests, with Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk officiated at the event. Brisbane Portrait Prize Director Barton Green said the intention of the Prize was to give artists a new platform to exhibit their work – with the proviso that each entry linked to a Brisbane story. “A condition of the Prize is that the artist and the sitter must have a connection with Brisbane – we want to unashamedly promote and celebrate Brisbane stories and people,” Green said. “Brisbane artists are amongst the most productive in the country, but there are limited opportunities for portrait artists to exhibit their work, and the portraiture market is restricted and can be difficult to penetrate for younger or emerging artists. We want to create opportunities for portrait artists, and to encourage cultural tourism and public engagement with the arts, by combining celebrity and portraiture.”

Entries in the Brisbane Portrait Prize are open, and will close on 23 August 2019. An exhibition of finalists will be in Brisbane Powerhouse from 30 September to 31 October and the winning entries will be announced in mid-October. Chris Saines, Director of Queensland Gallery of Modern Art is the guest judge for 2019.

Green said the Brisbane Portrait Prize was one of the richest in Australia, with more than $70,000 in prize money available to artists through four prizes, including The Lord Mayor’s Prize of $50,000, supported by Brisbane City Council, for the overall winner; the $10,000 Digital Prize, supported by Accenture; the $7500 People’s Choice Prize, supported by The Courier Mail; and the $5000 Sylvia Jones Prize for Women Artists, supported by the Clem Jones Foundation.

“Our aim is to showcase Brisbane’s artistic talent and the city’s social history through portraiture, telling the stories of prominent, noteworthy and/or interesting Brisbane personalities,” Green said. “The Brisbane Portrait Prize will be the preeminent portraiture award in Queensland, and one of the most significant in Australia, with the winning portrait each year acquired for the City of Brisbane Collection to become part of the permanent collection.”

Readers also enjoyed this story about Lethbridge Gallery winner Paula Quintela.