Bald Archy delivers Corowa record
Corowa reeled in an official attendance record at the 2018 Bald Archy Prize art exhibition, which was on show in the Corowa Art Space for nearly a month.
Bald Archy volunteers said they noticed an increase in people travelling long distances to catch a glimpse of some inspiring and, at the same time, controversial paintings.
Federation Council Mayor Pat Bourke said there had been more than 1400 people, from as far as Scotland and New Zealand, view the exhibition, proving that this year has been the biggest attendance for the art exhibition in Corowa yet.
Many also came from Swanpool – who usually hold the exhibition – as the Bald Archy was taken off them for 2018.
“Over the last five years of us hosting the event, the Bald Archy exhibition has always attracted a loyal band of supporters,” Mr Bourke said.
“Council is honoured to have had the opportunity to showcase the Bald Archy collection again and I would like to say a special thanks to the 25 volunteers who give their valuable time and assistance to make this possible every year. The success of this exhibition in Corowa is due to them and we are thankful for their continued support.”
The 2018 winner of the Bald Archy Prize is a portrait of Ahn Do called ‘Anh Can Do’ by James Brennan. Brennan, who has taken out the prize on four occasions, said he chose Ahn Do as his subject for the prize because he admires him. Brennan had seen Ahn Do’s television series and his works in the Archibald Prize and thought he would make a good subject.
The work draws on the famous Norman Rockwell self-portrait in which the American artist paints his own portrait using his reflection in a mirror.
As expected there are a number of controversies in this year’s exhibition. One is a caricature of Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong, entitled ‘Two Rights Don’t Make a Wong’ by Judith Nadin. It depicts Senator Corey Bernardi and Tony Abbott in wedding dresses and is about the same sex marriage debate.
According to founder of the prize Peter Batey, the competition celebrates the “Australian larrikin sense of humour”. It was launched in 1994 as a spoof of the Archibald Prize and as a way to provide artists of all styles and standards with a genuine opportunity, ranging from the hilarious to the bizarrely vulgar, to create portrait paintings of humour, dark satire, light comedy or caricature.
The exhibition featured 45 finalists.
Visitors were able to cast votes for their favourite piece. Council staff are currently compiling the people’s choice awards votes that will be published in the near future.
Corowa Art Space has hosted the Bald Archy Prize touring exhibition – which is now in its 25th year – annually since 2014.
More than 1,400 people visited the exhibition this year – an attendance record.