Nigel Milsom has been announced the winner of this year’s Archibald Prize for his portrait of barrister Charles Waterstreet, at a ceremony held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on Friday 17 July 2015.
Born in 1975, Milsom lives and works in Newcastle. He has had nine solo exhibitions since 2002. He won the 2013 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and the 2012 Sulman Prize. This is his third time in the Archibald.
“Charlie is a very complex person,” says Nigel Milsom. “He isn’t just a law man. He’s a writer, a social environmentalist and is involved in film, photography and theatre too. Despite personal struggles with his own demons over the years, he has managed to dedicate most of his time to the welfare of others.
“My relationship with Charlie took on more significance a few years ago when he represented me and in the pursuit of justice stood up to what seemed an unfair, impenetrable brick wall. He put his head on the chopping block and restored my faith in the legal system.”
“My portrait is an attempt to depict him as a giant: part-man, part-mythical creature with hands that appear otherworldly, as though the anatomy of his hands has been designed to grasp unnatural disasters, naturally.”
The 94th year of the Archibald Prize, this year there were 832 Archibald, 653 Wynne, 518 Sulman and 1284 Young Archie entries. The Archibald and Wynne Prizes were judged by the Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The judge for the 2015 Sulman Prize was Lindy Lee. The winner of the Young Archie will be announced on 22 August 2015.
First awarded in 1921, the Archibald Prize is one of Australia’s favourite art award, and one of its most prestigious. Awarded to the best portrait painting, it’s a who’s who of Australian culture – from politicians to celebrities, sporting heroes to artists.
The 2015 winners are:
- Archibald Prize – Nigel Milsom for his portrait of barrister Charles Waterstreet
- Wynne Prize – Natasha Bieniek for her work, Biophilia
- Sir John Sulman Prize – Jason Phu for his work, I was at yum cha when in rolled the three severed heads of Buddha: Fear, Malice and Death
- Trustees’ Watercolour Prize – Max Miller for his work, The world of dew is only the world of dew and yet…oh…and yet…’ Kobayashi Issa (1763–1828)
- Pring Prize – Viola Dominello for her work, On the river
- Packing Room Prize – Bruno Jean Grasswill for his portrait of Michael Caton
The exhibition of winners and finalists opens to the public on Saturday 18 July and runs to Sunday 27 September 2015. For more information, visit: www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au for details.
Image: Nigel Milsom’s winning portrait of barrister Charles Waterstreet. Art Gallery of NSW