City congratulates local artist shortlisted for Archibald Art Prize

Media release

The City of Greater Bendigo is delighted to congratulate local artist Alanah Ellen Brand on being a finalist in the prestigious Archibald Prize 2023.

The Archibald Prize is awarded annually to the best portrait and is decided by the Art Gallery of New South Wales Board of Trustees. Ms Brand chose to paint an oil on canvas portrait of artist and mentor Solomon Kammer, who was a finalist in the 2022 Archibald Prize.

Ms Kammer lives with five diagnosed conditions and is often told ‘she is not disabled enough’ to be acknowledged as a person with disability. Ms Brand chose to place her subject on a plinth for the portrait to show how the disability advocate and artist, who lives with chronic pain, had become a symbol of hope for many.

Ms Brand said she was very excited to be selected for the first time as an Archibald Prize finalist. 

“I painted this portrait of Solomon with the intent of entering it into the Archibald Prize 2023. This is my first entry, and I am absolutely thrilled that it has been selected as a finalist. This is truly a dream come true,” she said.

Ms Brand was born in Bendigo and went to Flora Hill Primary School, Flora Hill Secondary College, now named Bendigo South East College (BSE), and Bendigo Senior Secondary College. Ms Brand currently works at BSE as an art teacher and completed a Masters in Visual Art at La Trobe University in 2018. 

Bendigo Venues & Events (BV&E) Coordinator Creative Communities Maree Tonkin said it was wonderful to see a Bendigo artist recognised and shortlisted for the Archibald Prize 2023.

“Alanah is such an incredible artist and it is thrilling to see a local Bendigo artist named as a finalist in this prestigious national art award. The City congratulates Alanah on her stunning portrait and our fingers will be tightly crossed when the winning portrait is announced on Friday May 5,” Ms Tonkin said.

“This is also very special for Bendigo’s creative community because Alanah has benefited from the City’s Artist on View program and is currently presenting her exhibition Vulnerability at Dudley House. 

“It’s a great example of how the City is helping to nurture homegrown talent and the importance of providing opportunities for burgeoning artists and creatives with our many programs and initiatives aligned to the Greater CREATIVE Bendigo Strategy.”

The Artist on View program is open to individual artists and arts groups living, working or studying primarily in Greater Bendigo. 

The program provides venue access, technical support and assistance with promotion. Successful artists are also awarded $1,000 to support their exhibition costs. There are six artists who have benefited from the program this year and are able to showcase their work, including Ms Brand.

Ms Brand’s latest exhibition Vulnerability presents a series of portrait paintings that examine how important vulnerability is to form true connections with others. The artist reveals the importance of expressing all emotions in a world that often tries to hide or confine them.

Vulnerability is a free exhibition at Dudley House on View Street, open from 10am until 2pm every day until Sunday April 30. 

Please note – The portrait nominated for the Archibald Prize is currently at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and is not on display at Dudley House. 

Greater Bendigo