Warrnibald Returns to the Warrnambool Art Gallery

After a year’s hiatus, the popular Warrnibald Prize is returning to the Warrnambool Art Gallery (WAG).

The prize, run jointly between the Warrnambool Art Gallery and WDEA Works Warrnambool, encapsulates the community spirit shown by people during social isolation. It’s a non-acquisitive open-entry portraiture exhibition and art prize, aiming to foster community spirit and celebrate people who have contributed to the rich and diverse community.

WDEA Works CEO Tom Scarborough believes the Warrnibald will help to keep people connected.

“While we’re living in uncertain times it’s now more important than ever for us to maintain that community spirit and leadership which the Warrnibald celebrates,” he said.

Now in its fourth year at WAG, the exhibition and art prize forms connection through visual art. Artists choose subjects who are currently, or have previously, made significant contributions to local culture, art, volunteering, business, sport, politics, education or health in our region or have represented our region by contributing in these areas in Australia or overseas.

Despite the difficulties the competition faces due to COVID-19, Warrnibald organisers are pushing ahead, implementing social distancing rules and moving the exhibition online. Entrants will be encouraged to observe social distancing and create their portrait from a photograph, memory or of someone they live with.

“We’re looking at innovative ways to ensure that the public are able to safely view the entrants for the Warrnibald, and also to assist with judging the people’s choice Archibool award,” WAG Director Vanessa Gerrans said.

The portraits will be collected through the WAG, ensuring that COVID-19 policies are followed. The works will be judged in person, but it’s anticipated that the first view of the collection to the public will be through digital methods.

Money raised through the 2020 WARRNIBALD and Junior Warrnibald will help to support WDEA Works Social Enterprises’ Artlink Program, (which first held the Warrnibald in 2012) and is an initiative that assists people with a range of abilities identify and achieve their creative goals and promote the inclusivity of everyone in community life.

“We’re excited to use this opportunity to extend the message of the Warrnibald and employing a digital element to the viewing will enable this. We understand that viewing art online isn’t the same as in person, but thanks to technology, we can still get joy from art and creativity,” said Ms Gerrans.

Entries for the Warrnibald are open until Saturday 11th July 2020 and the Junior Warrnibald Friday 26th June For more information, download an Artist Entry Pack at thewag.com.au or contact the Warrnambool Art Gallery gallery@warrnambool.vic.gov.au (03) 5559 4949. Follow the Warrnambool Art Gallery on Facebook to stay up to date with event news and details.

Man standing infront of portraits in an art gallery
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