2023 Bald Archy Prize for caricature portraits announced

Published by: Hook Communications Pty Ltd | 20-Mar-2023
In a “shock” move, Australia’s tallest poppies were snubbed in the announcement of this year’s Bald Archy Prize for caricature portraits.
Venue: Ibis Hotel Sydney Darling Harbour
Address: 22 Shelley Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Date: 21 March 2023
Time: 11.00am
Web: https://baldarchy.com.au/
: https://www.facebook.com/BaldArchyPrize
EMail: grealy.luke@wagga.nsw.gov.au
Call: 02 6926 9652
2023 Bald Archy Prize for caricature portraits announced
Request Image Contact: peter@hookcommunications.com.au
Image Copyright / CDN: Museum of the Riverina: https://baldarchy.com.au/__data/assets/image/0005/232367/NeverADullMoment_web.jpg
Marty Steele's portrait of Bald Archy founder, Peter Batey - Never a Dull Moment
Considered Australia’s premier satirical art prize (even if slightly less famous than the Archibald Prize), the Bald Archy Prize celebrates the lighter side of art and the larrikin Australian spirit.

The famous and infamous personalities were plentiful among the 22 finalists, but in the end, Albo, Scomo, Dutton, George Pell, Gina Rinehart, Ash Barty, Costa and even King Charles failed to take the crown in this year’s hard-fought competition.

The winner, instead, went to a portrait of the founder of the Bald Archy Prize, Peter Batey who passed away in 2019.

The portrait is by Marty Steele with the caricature titled (fittingly): Never a Dull Moment. The caricature depicts Bald Archy founder Peter Batey riding aloft the airborne figure of chief judge, cockatoo Maude.

Marty Steel is a Brisbane based portrait artist and a Bald Archy finalist in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Peter Batey OAM was a distinguished arts administrator and pioneer of contemporary Australian theatre. After a long and successful career, Peter relocated to Coolac, a small town near Gundagai, where he contributed significantly to the regional community and created the Festival of Fun, of which the Bald Archy Prize was a key part.

Throughout his career in theatre, Peter produced and directed some 130 professional productions across Australia and the world. He is known for directing all five major Reg Livermore stage shows, revolutionising Australian commercial theatre in the mid-70’s. Batey has also been publicly acknowledged by Barry Humphries for his contribution to the creation of the character Dame Edna Everage.

His love of humour led to his creation of the Bald Archy Prize in 1994. His reason? “It was meant to amuse – apparently a problem with people who believe audible laughter shouldn’t be permitted in an art gallery, let alone unsolicited conversation with a complete stranger.”

After the death of Batey in 2019, the administration of the Bald Archy Prize was handed to the Museum of the Riverina, Wagga Wagga, which has assumed responsibility for running the prize in perpetuity and now Australia’s satirical painters and cartoonists are back again capturing the famous and infamous characters that dominated the headlines in 2022.

Not surprisingly, given that 2022 was an election year, Albo’s ascension to the PM throne, Scomo’s deposing, and Dutton’s new ‘voice’ as Liberal leader provided key themes for this year’s finalists.

Other dominant power figures represented include Gina Rinehart, Rupert Murdoch and King Charles, with Australia’s very own claim to royalty – Dame Edna – sharing the canvas.

Subjects weren’t restricted to politicians though, with celebrities such as the late Olivia Newton-John, Costa Georgiadis and Maggie Beer making the cut. And sporting stars – as ever – are included in the collection, with Daryl Maguire, Wayne Bennett, and Ash Barty framed for posterity.

While the Bald Archy Prize has sometimes been held in contempt by the ‘art elite’, the fact that the competition has been operating for almost 30 years is testimony to the competition’s popularity and relevance.

Hotel owner and developer, Dr Jerry Schwartz, is sponsoring the Bald Archy exhibition which starts at Ibis Sydney Barangaroo, 22 Shelley Street, Sydney (until 14 April, from 10am – 4pm) before moving to major NSW and Victorian regional locations:

Coffs Harbour: National Cartoon Gallery
21 April 2023 - 21 May 23

Brewarrina Visitor Information and Exhibition Centre
27 May 2023 - 25 June 2023

Grenfell Art Gallery
30 June 2023 - 30 July 2023

Deniliquin: Peppin Heritage Centre
4 August 2023 - 3 September 2023

Corowa Art Space
8 September 2023 - 8 October 2023

Rydges Newcastle
13 October 2023 - 12 November 2023

Temora: The Bundawarrah Centre
17 November 2023 - 17 December 2023

Wagga Wagga: Museum of the Riverina - Historic Council Chambers Site
22 December 2023 - 28 January 2024

Full details: https://baldarchy.com.au/

For further information:
Luke Grealy
Manager Museum of the Riverina
Contact: d +61 2 6926 9652 | e grealy.luke@wagga.nsw.gov.au | m: 0429 516 929

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