Sibling portraits among young art winners

A collage portrait of a teenage artist's sister is among the Young Archie winning entries.
A collage portrait of a teenage artist's sister is among the Young Archie winning entries.

Portraits of family and self have won young creators acclaim and exposure in the Art Gallery of NSW's Young Archie competition.

Running alongside Australia's oldest portrait award, the Archibald Prize, this year's Young Archie drew 2100-plus entries from young people aged five to 18 across NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT .

A bold self-portrait painted by Thevan Basnayake from Sydney was among Saturday's winners, claiming the five-to-eight age category title.

The seven-year-old from Winston Hills told AAP he makes art almost every day.

"I want to be an artist (when I grow up)," he revealed, adding that he also enjoys drawing.

Luanda Lucia Perlstone Monroy, nine, from Maroubra won the nine-to-12 category for My Hulk brother, which depicts her six-year-old sibling Leon seemingly on the rampage with green skin and blue hair.

Using watercolour pencils, the Sydneysider created the portrait at the encouragement of her art teacher.

"My brother plays lots of Hulk and fighting games with his toys, and I wanted to capture him playing around," Luanda said.

"He did once paint his hair blue."

Jacqueline Qin excelled in the 13-to-15 category with a multicoloured portrait of her younger sister, Jessica.

The 15-year-old eschewed natural skin tones for a range of "sunset-inspired colours" as a way of imbuing the image with added personality.

The portrait features collage in the form of newspaper strips that frame the subject's face, alluding to Jessica's love of reading and writing.

"I wanted to express that there's more to my sister than the outer appearance," Jacqueline said.

And Charliese Allen, 16, from Melbourne was announced winner in the 16-to-18 category for Momasito, an affecting portrait in oils of her mother following successful treatment for cancer.

"I was inspired by her strength through it all," Charliese said.

"I want to be like her one day, so I painted this portrait as a farewell to those tough times (we'd been through) and to say, 'you're the strongest person, mum'."

Confirming that her mother has recovered "really well", Charliese hopes visitors respond to the portrait.

"I couldn't find a lot to help me through that time, and this piece did that. I want other people to feel that too," she said.

The 2021 judges were Ramesh Nithiyendran, a Sydney-based contemporary artist and two-time Archibald Prize finalist, and Victoria Collings, family programs manager at the gallery.

Nithiyendran said the portraits he loved the most were "imaginative and a little bit rebellious".

"It was amazing to see the sheer mass of creative energy from young people around the country," he said.

Collings noted more self-portraits than usual had been submitted this year.

"The time spent in lockdown or away from friends due to the pandemic has meant children are spending more time alone," she said.

"This has given them time to reflect on themselves, their personalities, their hopes and dreams."

Images of works by all 40 finalists, including the four winners, can be viewed on the gallery's website.

These portraits have been on display at the gallery since June 5 and are scheduled to remain up until September 26, however the gallery is currently closed in line with public health orders.

Australian Associated Press