A chance encounter between an artist and an Indigenous elder has resulted in this year’s Archibald Prize People’s Choice Award winning portrait.
Two-time finalist David Darcy has taken out the 2019 award, with his portrait of Daisy Tjuparntarri Ward, a respected elder of the Warakurna community and Ngaanyatjarra people of Western Australia.
Mr Darcy said he decided to paint Mrs Ward after meeting her last year. The two quickly hit it off and became good friends.
Tjuparntarri walked into my studio looking for art supplies. Over several weeks, we got to know each other, and I discovered I’d met an extraordinary woman.
“Tjuparntarri is a beautiful human being. She is a strong, proud indigenous women of great substance. It was an honour to paint her and I am overwhelmed with pride knowing that through my endeavours, her portrait has connected with so many people. Thank you to everyone who voted.”
Mrs Ward is a cultural and community liaison officer for regional WA schools and is a director on the NPY Women’s Council, an advocate against domestic violence, a qualified translator, artist and sought-after storyteller.
“I am very proud and happy that we, the people of the central deserts, are being recognised in this way”, Mrs Ward said upon hearing of Mr Darcy’s win.
Michael Brand, Art Gallery of New South Wales Director, said the People’s Choice was not a surprising one.
“David’s striking depiction of Daisy Tjuparntarri Ward certainly struck a chord with visitors to the exhibition with many commenting on the strength and emotion visible in her gaze. It is no surprise that it came out on top as the ANZ People’s Choice award winner,” he said.
This year, the ANZ People’s Choice award carries a $3500 cash prize for the artist.
One person who voted for the People’s Choice award-winning painting was also selected at random to win the People’s Choice voters’ prize.
This year, the lucky voter is Bernadette Wright from Brisbane, who receives a $2000 cash prize from ANZ.
Finalist works for the 2019 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes are on show at the Art Gallery of New South Wales until 8 September. Archibald Prize finalists will then go on a tour of regional galleries and museums beginning at the TarraWarra Museum of Art in Victoria on 14 September.