A portrait of a respected Ngaanyatjarra elder from Western Australia has won the 2019 Archibald Prize ANZ People’s Choice award.
Second time Archibald Prize finalist David Darcy was this morning crowned the 2019 ANZ People’s Choice award winner with his portrait of Daisy Tjuparntarri Ward, an elder of the Warakurna community, 1100km north-east of Kalgoorlie
From Upper Hunter in New South Wales, Mr Darcy took up painting full time two-and-a-half years before receiving today’s $3500 cash prize and deciding to paint Mrs Ward.
“Last year 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,” Mr Darcy said.
“Tjuparntarri is a beautiful human being. She is a strong, proud indigenous woman 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.
Mrs Ward told The West Australian the painting meant “more than words can say”. “It’s so beautiful,” she said.
“After walking around the Archibald and seeing the artwork and the artists, I just thought, ‘I want to do something for my people’, and so I asked him: ‘can you paint me?’.”
Mrs Ward said she “wasn’t born in the hospital. I was born in the bush ... and learned English in school”.
“This painting, I want it to tell people ... the government: ‘look at my people in central Australia, hear our voice’. We need help, we need support.”
Art Gallery of New South Wales Director Michael Brand said Darcy’s striking depiction of Daisy Tjuparntarri Ward had struck a chord with visitors
“It is no surprise that it came out on top as the ANZ People’s Choice award winner,” he said.
“Each year we continue to be delighted by the thoughtful and compelling comments members of the public leave as they cast their vote for their favourite portrait.”
The Archibald Prize People’s Choice was first awarded in 1988.
Finalist works for the 2019 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes are on show at the Art Gallery of New South Wales until September 8.
Archibald Prize finalists will then go on a tour of regional galleries and museums beginning at the TarraWarra Museum of Art in Victoria on September 14.