Percivals Finalists Vie For Top Portrait Prize

More than 80 talented artists are one step closer to winning a Percivals prize after being selected to show in the renowned biennial exhibition.

The Townsville-based competition includes three major prizes — the Percival Portrait Painting Prize, the Percival Photographic Portrait Prize, and the Percival Animal Portrait Prize — as well as two people’s choice awards, with a cumulative $53,000 in prize money across all categories.

The Percivals are just one way that Council provides opportunities for the growth of local artists, showcasing their works alongside artists from across Australia.

Percival Portrait Painting Prize 2022 winner Michael Lindeman knows how it feels to be one of hundreds of entrants into the prize.

Lindeman won the $40,000 Painting Prize for his piece I… in 2022, with his work being acquired for the City of Townsville Art Collection.

“It was my third time entering – so third time lucky,” he said.

“It was gratifying to know that the portrait connected with others. Sometimes making art can be an isolated experience and we’re unsure how the work will be received.

“It was great to exhibit the portrait alongside so many excellent artists. It was also an honour to know the work is now part of an important collection.

“Thank you to Townsville City Council and the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery for supporting artists and connecting them to the wider community.”

His advice to other portrait artists? To understand the sitter beyond their appearance.

“I think it’s important to push at the edges of any creative field. So, with portraiture I aim to make something innovative in terms of aesthetics and technique,” he said.

“Equally important is that the portrait needs to be strong conceptually – loaded with wit, sincerity and contradiction. It needs to somehow map out the complexity and mind of the sitter, not just their physical characteristics.

“Look at as much art as you can both in the flesh and online. The internet is the gateway to everything happening right now internationally also.

“Be obsessed with your practice, work hard and always critique your work. Ask yourself how can I make the next painting better? Most importantly, it has to be fun.”

This year’s The Percivals has garnered a significant number of entries, with over 400 submissions in total.

Submissions were judged by a panel of nationally significant art experts, with the overall painting prize winner to be selected by Bradley Vincent, former Head of Curatorial and Programs at HOTA Gallery. The overall photographic prize winner will be judged by internationally renowned artist Tony Albert.

Both esteemed arts practitioners will judge the works in-situ, with the announcement of winners being made at the official opening on Saturday 22 June at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery.

Mayor Troy Thompson said The Percivals competition was a reflection of Townsville’s reputation as the arts and events capital of Northern Australia.

“Council is proud to be bringing The Percivals back to North Queensland’s oldest art gallery, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery. This internationally-recognised arts competition is a cornerstone of the North Queensland arts scene, providing one of the country’s most significant arts prizes,” Cr Thompson said.

“We know that residents and visitors connect over cultural experiences, whether that’s visiting our galleries, heading to a concert or enjoying a sporting event, which is why we’re constantly developing cultural experiences for Townsville.

“The Percivals has received a slew of remarkable entries this year and I know the judges will have a challenging and rewarding job when they award winners in June.”

The Percivals will be on display from 22 June to 1 September. Entry is free.

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