The 52 lucky finalists for the 2021 Archibald Portrait Prize were unveiled yesterday morning at the Art Gallery of NSW.

Finalists were also announced for the Wynne Prize (for landscape painting) and the Sulman Prize (for “subject painting, genre painting or mural project”) – two equally esteemed gongs that are showcased in the AGNSW alongside ‘The Face That Stops The Nation’.

This year’s prize marks a 100 years of anxiety and excitement for Australian artists, whose careers can explode overnight simply by making it as a finalist, let alone as a winner of the iconic ‘Archies’.

2021 also marks the first time the Archibald has achieved gender parity amongst finalists, which many would argue is long overdue, considering majority of art schools around this country are at a 80/20 female-to-male split for graduating students.

Sydney artist Kathrin Longhurst has won ‘The Packing Room Prize’ – which is the best painting according to the Gallery employees who unload and hang the works – for her portrait of Australian music legend Kate Ceberano.

However, both Longhurst and Ceberano are just two of the stars to take residency at the Art Gallery of NSW over the next couple months.

Some of the high-profile subjects of this year include Firass Dirani (Underbelly) Rachel Griffiths (Ride Like a Girl), theatre-maker Eryn Jean Norvill, filmmaker Rachel Perkins (Mystery Road), and the Governor of New South Wales Margaret Beazley – in 52 carefully curated paintings by some of the best of the best Australian artists.

However, according to a 34-year-old bloke who owns a pool installation business in the McMansion Heartland of Betoota Heights, none of the paintings are really that impressive.

“Nah, none of them really do it for me” says Corey Lisbeth, after being notified that finalists had been announced by a push notification from his Sportsbet online betting account.

“Look I’ll still have a punt on it… But to be honest… I think I could do better than half of these artists”

Corey, whose favourite movie is the widely panned 2003 Superhero flop Daredevil with Ben Affleck, is a man who believes the consumer should dictate an artist’s success.

And as someone who has been a major contributor to Metallica’s merch revenue over the last few decades, he backs himself as quite the critic.

“All I’m saying is, half of these paintings wouldn’t make it into the man cave” says the 33-year-old who is unable to enjoy prawns without a side dish of smoky BBQ sauce.

“And that’s coming from someone who could buy the lot if I wanted. Do you know how much these povo artists make bahaha”

“That’s less than two pebblecrete 10 metre pools hanging up in that gallery hahaha”


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