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The Archibald Prize is regarded as the most important portraiture prize, and is the most prominent of all arts prizes in Australia.
Although winners were announced long ago the circuit of the finalists has only just ended at Port Macquarie's and Taree's Manning Gallery.

Last year's winners and finalists shouldn't lose their recognition in the shadow of the new submissions being judged for this year.

It is astounding to see what talent these artists have and it is an unmissable sight.
The most common medium on display was oil paintings but there were also charcoal drawings, collages, pencil sketches and even one image created entirely from paint drips.

The subjects of these portraits included politicians, actors, musicians, men, women, children, and one even featuring a man that had been "Quartered, Drawn and Hung".

The overall winner of the Archibald Prize (and $50,000) was Del Kathryn Barton. Her piece was very different to the rest of the exhibit as she went for a less classical style, instead choosing synthetic polymer paint, watercolour, gouache and pens.
The Winning Entry

The People's Choice Prize went to Vincent Fantauzzo's portrait of Heath Ledger. The image is very stimulating, depicting three Heaths, one centered and staring straight ahead while the other two gleefully whisper in his ear as if showing his thoughts taking two different sides.
This portrait was very deserving of its prize, but the immensely life-like oil painting probably wouldn't have received so much attention if it had have depicted someone lesser known and loved in Australia.
Heath

While all the pieces deserve recognition I will only discuss one more portrait, James Cochran's "Akira". The portrait is of fashion designer Akira Isogawa, but the most interesting part of it is the style of the portrait. James Cochran used a version of pointillism, which he calls "Drip Painting" which involves dripping enamel paint onto a canvas and collaborating each individual drip to create a very life-like portrait (from far away).
Akira

All the finalist portraits can be viewed here.
See them before they get replaced!
The Archibald Prize Finalists
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Submitted on
January 19, 2009
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