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Art Gallery WA Media Release
Frederick Garling, View across the coastal plain

portrait month at agwa
It's time to face up to portraits

Black Swan Prize for Portraiture on display at AGWA

8 – 31 October 2016 | FREE

Portraits commemorate, transform, reflect, and sometimes distort their subject in endlessly fascinating variety. From the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture to robot tours and new trails, AGWA says this October, it’s time to face up to portraits.

October is Portrait Month at AGWA as the Gallery celebrates the portrait in all its forms, drawing 40 key works from the State Art Collection, with a special focus on the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture.

AGWA’s new Portrait Project, which runs until January, allows visitors to explore this compelling form. There are new portrait trails; Guru Guide tours; a new series of online Portrait Insight videos with Hannah Gadsby who will also be presenting a comedy routine about portraits at ARTBAR on 27 October; there are family and schools portrait events including Aggie’s Robot Portrait Tour; and workshops in the Imagination Room.

The Black Swan Prize is one of Australia’s richest portraiture prizes featuring the $50,000 Lester Group Prize, the $7,500 Amana Living People’s Choice Prize, the new $10,000 Tony Fini Foundation Artist Prize and two Highly Commended $500 HU Kendall & Co Gift Vouchers.

WA’s only portrait prize attracts hundreds of entries nationally each year.

Quote attributable to Stefano Carboni, AGWA Director
"Portrait Month launches the new AGWA Portrait Project and will showcase Australians in the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture and the Gifts to the Fallen exhibitions, as well as international sculptures and paintings dating back to the 1800s. It’s a great time to reassess and appreciate this pivotal artform. Starting in October with the Black Swan Prize we will explore how portraiture crosses a multitude of mediums while capturing local and international history and culture."

Bookings recommended

Guru Guided Tours | FREE

1-2pm, Fridays in October
Theme: Portraits from Your Collection
12.30-1pm, Saturdays & Sundays in October
Theme: Take One Portrait - one artist, one work

ArtBubs | $15
10.30am-12pm, Wednesday 19 October
Theme: Portraits
Parents curious about portrait as an art form can bring their bubs for a mid-week art outing with morning tea. Prams/baby carriers and babies up to one year old welcome!

Tour with Aggie |  FREE
11am, Saturday 24 September & Saturday 22 October
Theme: Portraits
Using state-of-the-art robotics and artworks-of-the-State, let Aggie take you on a guided tour of Your Collection.

Art with Aggie | Gold coin donation
1pm, Saturday 24 September & Saturday 22 October
Theme: Portraits
Let Aggie the AGWA Robot guide you through a practical hands-on art activity.

Drop in and draw | FREE
10am-5pm, Saturday 24 September – Monday 31 October
Theme: Portraits
Kids, big and small, can enjoy the interactive drawing space every day the Gallery is open by creating their own landscape, portrait or still life.

ARTBAR - Hannah Gadsby | $44+bf
6.30-10pm, Thursday 27 October
In celebration of the Gallery’s Portrait Month, Hannah takes a close look at a selection of works from the State Art Collection and gives us her take on what makes an artwork.

Bookings recommended

Children’s Life Drawing Class | FREE
11am, 12pm, 1pm & 2pm, Saturday 8 October
11am & 1pm suitable for ages 6-12 years | 12pm & 2pm suitable for ages 10-16 years
Presented by the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture
Future Black Swan Prize entrants can learn the fundamentals of portraiture in a step by step class on how to create a portrait.

Artist Talks | FREE
Various times, Thursday 13, Friday 14 & Saturday 15 October 
Presented by the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture

In 2016, as part of the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture’s tenth year anniversary celebrations, ARTrinsic Inc is hosting a vibrant community engagement program, for the public to explore portraiture. Workshops by previous Black Swan Prize for Portraiture finalists and winners are available for beginners to advanced practitioners.

Try your hand at drawing with charcoal, learn the underlying fundamentals of painting in oils, or simply watch a live portrait demonstration. An interesting and informative series of interactive talks and seminars will also be available for artists of all levels of experience.

To view the complete list of workshops, events and activities you can take part in, visit Bookings are essential as places are limited.

Further information

For more information, interviews and imagery please contact Tanya Sticca on 9492 6692 or email

Annual Sponsors

Principal Partner

Wesfarmers logo

303 MullenLowe, Singapore Airlines, Audi, Smartbots, Alex Hotel, Juniper Estate, Gage Roads Brewing Co.

Howard Taylor Double self-portrait 1959. Oil on composition board, 71.8 x 84 cm (sight) 93.2 x 105.5 cm (framed). State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia. Purchased 1985.

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