Making a habit of Archibald finals

Coolum artist Jan Williamson relaxes in front of a display of her paintings. Photo: Warren Lynam/181218
Coolum artist Jan Williamson relaxes in front of a display of her paintings. Photo: Warren Lynam/181218

She’s done it again.

Coolum portrait artist Jan Williamson is a finalist for the national 2009 Archibald Prize in Sydney for the fifth time.

“My first entry to the Archibald was in 2000, a portrait of surfer Tommy Carroll, and I have had an entry every year since,” Williamson said.

“And I have been hung five times.”

To be “hung” in art competition parlance is to be a finalist.

She has also been hung in the accompanying salon section of the competition.

The portrait specialist missed out last week on the packing-room award, an award she has won two years in a row, but she also picked up the people’s choice award with a portrait of singer Jenny Morris.

This year Ms Williamson’s entry is a portrait of Aboriginal painter Nancy Petyarr from the Utopia community, north-east of Alice Springs.

“I met Nancy’s daughter at last year’s Archibalds,” Ms Williamson said.

“She had a picture in the landscape section.

“She visited the area, spending a number of months in the community.

“They are a very proud people, with their own land, their own language; they are still hunting and gathering.”

Despite being a finalist, Ms Williamson doesn’t think she will win due to a current tendency toward non-traditional portraits “unless I change my style”.

The winner will be announced today.

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