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Warnbro artist’s touching tribute to mum

A Warnbro artist is among the finalists in this year’s much-coveted Lester Prize.

The Statewide competition has announced its 40 finalists to be considered for a range of art prizes worth more than $105,000.

The competition aims to award professional, emerging and young talented artists.

Warnbro artist Andy Quilty is one of the creatives who will be considered for the WA Premier Portrait Prize for his charcoal piece titled ‘Mum’.

Quilty said although it wasn’t the first time his artwork had been nominated, it was very special to have a tribute piece dedicated to his mum this time around.

“It’s like a monument to my mum in a sense. It’s to thank her for just being such an amazing human being and also to acknowledge her life and her achievements,” he said.

Quilty said since having his own children he had realised just how much people take their parents for granted.

“My mum grew up in a working class town in Kempsey, NSW,” he said.

“She was a single working mum and the first in her family to graduate from uni.

“My parents eventually met and moved to WA. I am one of seven kids, so Mum had to give up her teaching career for 20 years.”

Camera IconAndy Quilty. Credit: Pete Le Scelle

Quilty said this was the first time he had used charcoal at this scale.

“There’s just an aesthetic kind of quality about charcoal that I really love and just as sort of something new for me,” he said.

“It was also a conscious choice to work in this monochrome kind of way.

“I want to really take the focus to emanating a feeling or something about this person rather than sort of using optical tricks with paint or color.”

Pre-selection panel member Noongar and Saibai Island artist and designer Tyrown Waigana said there was a “great variety this year from highly technical portraiture to experimental and expressive aesthetics”.

“It’s always interesting to see how people express themselves through what can be a pointed subject in art. Testing how far you can push portraiture without fundamentally breaking it is a nuanced process and it’s exciting to see when it’s done successfully,” Waigana said.

Winners will be announced on September 30 and finalists’ works will be on display at the Art Gallery of WA in the Centenary Gallery from October 1 to November 1.

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