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Artist scoops coveted Archibald with portrait of Tim Winton

Artist Laura Jones has won the 2024 Archibald Prize for her portrait of author Tim Winton.

Artist Laura Jones has won the 2024 Archibald Prize for her portrait of author Tim Winton. Photo: AAP

Artist Laura Jones has won the Archibald Prize with her portrait of acclaimed author and conservationist Tim Winton.

The winner of the $100,000 prize was decided by the judges unanimously, and announced on Friday at the Art Gallery of NSW.

A four-time Archibald finalist, Jones said she never expected to be the winner, but she got the news from gallery director Michael Brand just hours earlier.

“I can’t describe the mixture of feelings, I was shocked, so happy and humbled,” she said.

Jones becomes the 12th woman to win the Archibald, and said that as a little girl she dreamed of being an artist.

“I’ve been lucky enough to make that dream come true, more than any other event, today shows that I wasn’t completely crazy.”

Tim Winton is the author of 30 books, including the Miles Franklin Award winners Cloudstreet and Breath.

Jones was inspired to paint Winton after studying the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef as part of a residency in 2016, and meeting him at an environmental advocacy event.

When she flew to Perth for a sitting with Winton, the Great Barrier Reef was suffering its fifth mass bleaching event in eight years.

“Tim was warm and witty. We spoke about the historical relationship between printmaking and political activism,” she said in an artist’s statement.

 

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A post shared by Laura Jones (@_laura_jones_)

Winton said he was initially reluctant to sit for his portrait.

“I had seen Laura’s paintings of the Great Barrier Reef coral gardens, including her beautiful and tragic depictions of coral bleaching, so I was a little more curious and open than usual,” he said.

The winning portrait was selected from more than 1000 entries and 57 finalists.

Also announced Friday, Naomi Kantjuriny has won the $40,000 Sulman Prize for her work Minyma mamu tjuta.

The $50,000 Wynne Prize has gone to Yolŋu elder Djakaŋu Yunupiŋu from Yirrkala in the Northern Territory, for her painting Nyalala gurmilili.

“I am one of seven sisters. There are only three of us left now. The songs of this painting were given to me by our father, Muŋgurrawuy. It shows the songs of the seven sisters in the stars crying. Now I am crying. But this time with happiness,” Yunupiŋu said after hearing of the win.

Former graffiti artist Matt Adnate has already been recognised with the $3000 Packing Room Prize for his painting of Yolngu rapper Baker Boy.

The finalists will be on show at the gallery from Saturday until September 8.

They will then tour regional NSW and the Northern Territory.

-AAP

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