Percivals 2024 Launches, Winners Announced

The Percivals and the only double-finalist in its Percival Portrait Painting Prize and Percival Animal Portrait Prize have one thing in common: they were both born in 2007.

Geordie Williamson is the youngest finalist in the prestigious art competition at Townsville City Council’s Perc Tucker Regional Gallery and the only finalist who is exhibiting in both the animal and painting prize categories.

The 16-year-old artist from Bendigo lives with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and said he used art to find strength during a long, difficult period.

“I started taking art more seriously in 2021. I went through a mental health crisis, unable to attend school for the next three years. Art was really all I could do, I had a lot of restrictions imposed by my OCD,” Geordie said.

“Art was really one of the only things that kept me going throughout that time, so it’s very, very close to my heart.”

Geordie’s Percival Portrait Painting Prize entry A Sticky Situation is a self-portrait completed in 2023, featuring the artist with sticky tape over his face. It is only the second oil painting he has completed and has previously won best in show at the Daylesford Rotary Art Show in Victoria.

This is the first time Geordie has entered The Percivals, and he said it was “an incredible, incredible privilege” to be listed as a finalist.

“It’s very inspiring to be at the very start of my art ‘career’, to have my silly little painting hanging next to established artists with such precise and honed skills, I’m very grateful for the opportunity,” he said.

“It was a bit of a surprise to actually be shortlisted, I’m really grateful. I’ve looked back at the stunning pieces from the past few years and am thrilled to be part of it this year.”

Despite his early success as a portrait artist, Geordie is still weighing up his options for the future.

“I’d love to have a career in the arts, and after missing years 8, 9 and 10 of schooling I was worried I’d struggle to find a career at all, but I’m finally back at school and loving it,” he said.

“I have a strong passion for learning. I’d love to even mix art and science as a career – biology is one of my favourite subjects, so maybe I’ll go down the path of scientific or medical illustration, but I’ll just have to see where life takes me.”

Councillor Ann-Maree Greaney said Geordie was the epitome of what The Percivals was created to celebrate.

“The Percivals exhibition and competition is built on great Australian portraiture and I couldn’t be more excited to see Geordie’s two works A Sticky Situation and Daphne accepted into this year’s competition,” Cr Greaney said.

“Geordie is a remarkable Australian artist and I think it’s wonderful that he gets to launch his career hanging alongside some of the country’s most well-recognised portraitists.

“As a Council we are always proud to give emerging artists platforms to showcase their skills, and we have many outstanding emerging artists exhibiting in this year’s The Percivals exhibition.

“I’d like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Geordie and our major prize winners Seabastion, Danish and Elissa. Well done.”

Geordie and his dad Lucas travelled to Townsville for The Percivals launch party and the announcement of winners on Saturday, where Geordie was awarded the Percival Animal Portrait Judge’s Award for his coloured pencil portrait of a Dalmatian called Daphne.

Coffs Harbour-based artist Seabastion Toast was awarded the Percival Portrait Painting Prize for her work How the Light Gets In. Townsville artist Danish Quapoor won the Percival Photographic Portrait Prize for his work screening test. Graphite artist Elissa Sampson won the Percival Animal Portrait Prize for her work Doug.

Seabastion said it was “very overwhelming” to win the top prize at The Percivals after a three-month-long painting process.

“How The Light Gets In is a portrait of my friend Karlee Rawkins who is a painter and an artist. We went to art school together in the late 90s,” she said.

“It’s amazing to be acquired in such an important collection. It’s not only amazing for me career-wise, but it’s also pretty heartwarming. I’m chuffed.

“I think a town that blocks off a street for a portrait prize is just the most incredible town. I think that’s so special.”

Danish said he was “so pleased to be recognised” with the Percival Photographic Portrait Prize.

“I’ve only really exhibited a few photographs throughout my life. It’s always slightly subjective and the luck of the day, but being recognised amongst all these incredible photographers is really lovely,” he said.

The Percivals exhibition runs until 1 September at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery. Entry is free.

Visit The Percivals web page

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