Since 2006, the Kilgour Prize has encouraged innovation within portrait and figurative painting. In 2019, the prize is now in its ninth year.
The KILGOUR PRIZE 2019 will award $50,000 for the most outstanding work of art, and a People’s Choice of $5,000 to the painting voted most popular by the general public.
Every year the Gallery receives hundreds of applications from artists across every state and territory of Australia. Applications are submitted online using a high quality jpeg of the work. The name of the artist is not revealed to the judges during the selection process for the finalists for exhibition, or for the winner of the prize - making the Kilgour Prize an equitable prize for artists at all career stages.
The KILGOUR PRIZE will be judged in 2019 by Lauretta Morton, Director Newcastle Art Gallery, alongside two guest judges; Jon Cattapan, Artist and Director of the VCA, University of Melbourne and Michael Dagostino, Director Campbelltown Arts Centre.
Jack Noel Kilgour (1900–1987) was an Australian artist well-known for his academic approach to landscape and portrait painting. In 1987 Kilgour bequeathed funds for the creation of a major figurative and portrait art competition to be run in perpetuity at Newcastle Art Gallery. As one of Australia’s major art prizes, The Kilgour Prize continues a long history of benefaction to the Gallery.
The Kilgour Prize is financed by the Jack Noel Kilgour bequest, administered by The Trust Company, Part of Perpetual. For more information about the prize including its history, application form and frequently asked questions, visit the Kilgour Prize page.
Kilgour Prize 2019 WINNER:
Blak Douglas wins KILGOUR PRIZE 2019
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes announced Sydney-based artist Blak Douglas as the winner of the annual award for figurative and portrait painting during the launch of the exhibition at Newcastle Art Gallery tonight.
The Kilgour Prize is one of Australia’s most lucrative art prizes and includes $50,000 for the winning artist, as well as a $5,000 People's Choice Award.
It is administered by Newcastle Art Gallery and funded via a bequest from Australian artist Jack Noel Kilgour, administered by The Trust Company, Part of Perpetual.
The Lord Mayor said the City of Newcastle was honoured to be the home of such an esteemed national prize.
“Now in its ninth year, the reputation of the Kilgour Prize continues to grow, attracting a large number of entrants and a significant audience to the gallery,” she said.
“The breadth and depth of artistic talent on show in this year’s Prize is truly impressive, with the diversity and quality of the entries reaching new heights each year.
“I congratulate Blak Douglas on joining a prestigious list of accomplished artists to have taken out the Kilgour Prize.”
Ms Morton said the Kilgour Prize encourages Australian artists to pursue - and push the boundaries of - portraiture and figurative painting.
Chosen from among hundreds of entries and 30 finalists, the compelling 1.5m square portrait of Australian actress and singer Ursula Yovich – ‘Queen of her own stage’ - impressed the panel of three judges with its powerful composition and striking style.
Born in Blacktown, Western Sydney in 1970, Douglas originally trained in illustration and photography before becoming a self–taught painter with a social justice-inspired style influenced by the study of graphic design.
He said he had always wanted to paint a portrait of his friend Yovich, a proud Larrakia woman from Darwin who is currently performing her Helpmann Award-winning show Barbara and the Camp Dogs
at Belvoir St Theatre in Sydney.
“My dear friend Ursula Yovich, actress and songstress dynamo, has always been on my list of subjects to paint,” Douglas said.
“This painting is all about her and is a metaphor for the female black voice. I asked Ursula to stand upon a chair for the pose because I saw it as a metaphor for Aboriginal voices to be heard.”
Blak Douglas opening night speech
Being a visitor here, naturally I’d like to begin with my humble offering of acknowledgement to The Awabakal & Worimi ancestors, elders & current custodians of country on which we stand - Lord Mayor, Councillors, Judges, Gallery staff & volunteers, dear supporting friends, fellow artists, assembled guests and reincarnated little beings of divinity…
This is an immeasurably historic moment for my people being the first Aboriginal artist to win this important prize.
I’d like to dedicate to the following peoples-
- my removed Dhungatti Grandmother Chlorine Morthem & Great Grandmother Cissy Drew
- my Mother & Father - Yvonne & Robert Hill
- and the late great artist & soul brother Chico Monks
- (each of whom have sadly passed).
Noting that the great painter Nicholas Harding was the first recipient of the prize, I reflect upon the time I witnessed Nicholas winning the 2001 Archibald Prize. A member of the media pack asked Nicholas - ‘how does it feel to win (then) $80k?’ Nicholas replied - ‘mate… I’ve been entering this prize for 17yrs now and if you were to add up the entry fees, materials, transport costs etc, I’d probably end up with enough to by you & I a beer’.
I believe most of us artists here tonight might echo that sentiment!
An acknowledgement and to Jack & Nancy Kilgour. One cannot simply run off with an award without paying dues to the bequest that enables it to continue. What a legacy it is when an ARTIST lays the stones that create the pathway for us to walk upon.
(Cheers to Jack & Nancy)
Kilgour Prize 2019 FINALISTS:
Entries for KILGOUR PRIZE 2019 have now closed. To stay informed join our enews and select 'The Kilgour Prize' as an interest.