Winners of The Percivals 2020 announced

Date published: 22 May 2020

A North Queensland artist has been named the winner of the $40,000 acquisitive Percival Portrait Painting Prize 2020.

Cutler Footway’s tropically-influenced work Jack Betteridge Costumed as an Elf: Don't F. with Me, Fellas! was selected as the best painting from the exhibition.

For the first time, both Percival Painting and Photography prizes are being exhibited together at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery.

Community and Cultural Development Committee chairperson, Councillor Ann-Maree Greaney, said the standard of work was exceptional.

The Percivals has drawn in work from local artists as well as from across the country and overseas. There is an incredible level of talent on display at Perc Tucker. Congratulations to the winners of the three prizes, and to everyone who submitted their work,” Cr Greaney said.

“While Perc Tucker remains closed, you can still experience the exhibition by taking a virtual tour through The Percivals 2020 on the Council website.”

Head of Painting at the Griffith University’s Queensland College of Art, Julie Fragar, judged the Painting Prize.

Ms Fragar said there was a lot of care that went into the process of selecting a winner.

“There are as many ways of making a portrait as there are people. When you meet a person, sometimes you can think ‘wow’ and then in time it starts to wear off, but the winning work really sustained my interest,” she said.

“There are painters who are technically excellent… there’s a lot of high-level technical ability in the show. There are some very intellectually interesting works, some people who have really tried to work with the genre of portraiture and figure out what could be done with it.

“And then, another element is the generosity or sensitivity or a real love for the subject, a pathos that happens in the works. I noticed that different works were stronger or weaker in different areas, but the ones that I think are the strongest have all of those things.”

Ms Fragar said she had one potent piece of advice for aspiring artists who dreamt of having their works grace the walls of Perc Tucker one day.

“Choose a subject who you have a genuine affection for. There’s something about that care, or that intimacy that comes through in a good portrait,” she said.

“Don’t sacrifice the painting for the likeness of the person. You could make a painting that’s very accurate but isn’t a very interesting painting, so always try to make an interesting painting first, and a good likeness second.”

Sydney-based artist Janet Tavener’s photographic portrait Ben and Saki is the winner of the $10,000 acquisitive Percival Photographic Portrait Prize.

Photographer Michael Marzik said Ben and Saki spoke to him on an emotional level when he first toured through The Percivals 2020.

“These works have been preselected, so there is a certain quality that is already here. In some cases, you walk through and you virtually get hit by a work, but then you leave it, keep going,” Mr Marzik said.

“Judging is a big job. It’s about humanity, it’s about people. You feel there is a responsibility. The last five [in my shortlist] were of such a high level and such a good quality, and they were all very, very interesting.

“Every single person here has put a lot of thought, a lot of effort and skills into their works. You want to be aware of that. You want to be fair.”

The Percival Animal Portrait Prize was awarded to Elissa Sampson for Still.

The Percivals winners

  • Percivals Portrait Painting Prize - Jack Betteridge Costumed as an Elf: Don't F. with Me, Fellas!, Cutler Footway
  • Percivals Photographic Portrait Prize - Ben and Saki, Janet Tavener
  • Percivals Animal Portrait PrizeStill, Elissa Sampson

The Percivals 2020 entries

  • Percival Portrait Painting Prize: 206 total entries, 127 shortlisted for competition (of the 127, 57 from QLD)
  • Percival Photographic Portrait Prize: 115 total entries, 74 shortlisted for competition (of the 74, 39 from QLD)
  • Animal Portrait Prize: 44 total entries, 38 shortlisted for competition (of the 38, 33 from QLD)