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July 28, 2021

Portrait prize draws young students in big time

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Delta Fox, Ginger and Me, first prize, 11-13 years, Chillingham Public School.
Delta Fox, Ginger and Me, first prize, 11-13 years, Chillingham Public School.

This year’s Les Peterkin Portrait Prize for local primary school students, on display at the Tweed Regional Gallery, has broken records, with more than 3,000 entries from 37 schools.

The annual prize, in which four judges chose 40 winners this year, has its official grand opening and presentation ceremonies this Sunday, 18 September.

The prize is named after legendary local artist and art teacher Les Peterkin, and this year marks its 20th anniversary.

The event celebrates the enormous artistic talent of local primary school students.

Students worked on the theme Me, Myself and I, sketching, collaging and painting artworks that capture their unique personality or a special characteristic through self-portraiture.

Prize coordinator Marianne Galluzzo said the standard of the art presented was, as usual, very high.

‘This year’s theme asked students to create a portrait that best describes themselves as an individual,’ Ms Galluzo said.

‘They were encouraged to investigate ways in which other artists depict themselves, and how to use the principles and elements of art and design to express their ideas,’ she said.

The 2016 judges: a local Bundjalung elder, Aunty Dale Williams; education support officer Ronalda Combo; the gallery’s education and audience development officer, Jodi Ferrari; and primary school teacher and cartoonist Russell Hayes, were all extremely impressed with the creativity and effort of every child who entered.

Ava Ziles, The happy girl, first prize 5-7 years, Dungay Public School.
Ava Ziles, The happy girl, first prize 5-7 years, Dungay Public School.

First prize winners from the three age categories: Ava Ziles (5-7 years) from Dungay Public School; Charlie Wappett (8-10 years) from Byron Community Primary School; and Delta Fox (11-13 years) from Chillingham Public School.

Each of the prize winners, and the creators of 37 other prize-winning and commended works, will have the thrill of seeing their artworks professionally framed and hung in a professional gallery setting.

Another 200 outstanding works will be displayed in folios for the duration of the exhibition.

The prize is made possible by the financial support of Tweed Shire Council and Tyalgum Public School, with assistance from the Friends of Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Arts Centre, and Derivan.

‘Last but not least, the Prize would not be possible without the enthusiasm of art-loving parents, volunteers and teachers,’ Ms Galluzzo said.

The prize’s official opening and presentation ceremonies promise to be one of the biggest events at the gallery this year and will be held this Sunday, 18 September. Everyone is welcome to attend the celebrations, which begin at 10am with a fun art making activity.

The exhibition will be officially opened at 11am by Tyalgum Public School Principal Janelle Cloherty, followed by the keenly anticipated announcement of winners and prize-giving by the man himself – Les Peterkin. Throughout the event, visitors will be entertained by wandering mime artiste Michele Jean.

Charlie Wappett, Pink Hair Dye, first prize 8 -10 years, Byron Community Primary School.
Charlie Wappett, Pink Hair Dye, first prize 8 -10 years, Byron Community Primary School.

Prize winners and a selection of entrants will be on display at the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre from today, 16 September, to 4 December.


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