It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the 2018 Black Swan Prize for Portraiture.


Firstly, I would like to acknowledge the Whadjuk Nyoongar people as the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters where Perth city is situated today, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.


This year, we celebrate our 12th Black Swan Prize and are excited to continue our partnerships with the Lester Group, City of Perth and the Art Gallery of WA; as well as welcome new sponsors Westpac, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Coolawarra, Block, Oxlades Art Supplies, Perth Theatre Trust, FIIG, Gerard Daniels, Advans Exhibition Services and Bentleys.


As we celebrate and showcase the work of some of Australia’s most talented visual artists, I would like to take a moment to focus on what we’ve learnt from the past. To learn and grow, we must reflect on the work we’ve done, the great things we’ve accomplished, as well as the areas we need to strengthen and refine in order to achieve our vision.


The Black Swan Prize for Portraiture has gone from being a passionate start up, designed to provide WA artists access to a national prize, to being a national force in portraiture, worthy of an event in the esteemed institution—the Art Gallery of WA. We are now looking forward, examining the pieces of what has made us successful, in order to build a brand that will take us through the challenges of the next decade.


As an organisation, the challenges our brand faces today are not ones of history (although we’ve had a few), but of the future. In an increasingly successful and vibrant arts scene in Western Australia with world-class artists, shows, events and exhibitions emanating from the State and across the country, we need to maintain our position as a premier and prestigious arts event–judged by the best, curated by the best, awarding the best, and celebrating and supporting the growth of portraiture as an art form.


We see a future that requires of us–consistency, cut-through and clarity. We need the ability to attract and maintain world-class partners and sponsors who support us. The Prize is looking to extend its global reach overseas and in regional Australia, where inspiring and creative histories are to be found. We are looking to partner with those who share a commitment to the enduring importance of art; and recognize the significance of successful Australian engagement strategically, economically, politically and culturally.


In 2019, we will enter a new and exciting phase in our organisation’s growth and are taking this opportunity to look at how we are organised, named and branded to help build a stronger platform for the future. Watch this space as we work with our partners, sponsors and artistic community to create an incredible brand that will grow our place in the prestigious world of art prizes.


At the 2018 Main Awards Night, we celebrated the achievements of this year’s finalists, our history, and the amazing team of people who helped us get here (including all our winners and finalists over the last 12 years).


A passionate artist by the name of Tina Wilson worked tirelessly from 2007—2016 to develop ARTrinsic, a not-for-profit organisation established to create opportunities for WA artists. Tina was formally recognised as Patron of the Prize for her amazing contribution to ensure there was a prize of ever-increasing excellence.


The Prize recognised Dick Lester as Lifetime Patron for his passion for the Arts, his encouragement of Tina Wilson, and his advice and financial assistance that from modest beginnings, the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture was able to flourish.


This year more than 120 works are on display in six key venues across Perth, as well as in a touring exhibition at St John of God Health Care campuses. Australia’s finest portrait artists, emerging young talent from high schools across Australia, adolescents at the Perth Children’s Hospital, and members of the greater community, are all coming together to celebrate the art of portraiture.


We continue to build on our community engagement program across the city, with free and ticketed events for the public to immerse themselves in throughout the month of November. We hope you enjoy exploring and experiencing the exhibitions, events and activations, and learning from the talented artists who will share a unique insight into their world and art practice.


On behalf of ARTrinsic Inc, I would like to acknowledge our collaborators, advisors and volunteers, and in particular the Lester Group, our Founding Partner, for their financial support and shared vision. Dick Lester’s and the Group’s belief in the work we do helps us to develop programs that provide vibrant and exciting opportunities for the community to embrace and appreciate visual arts in Western Australia.


Thank you to the Board, the Executive, Operations Management team, and staff—their hard work and commitment helps us reach the heights of excellence that the Black Swan Prize aspires to.


Thank you also to all of the artists from across Australia who continue to support our exhibition programs that advance their practice to a wider audience in WA and across the country—we are privileged to showcase your talent and originality to the public.


Please enjoy this year’s Black Swan Prize for Portraiture exhibition season.



Board Chair