Tim Winton portrait wins Archibald 2024 – see the entrants until September

Archibald 2024 winner Tim Winton

Kurrajong-based artist Laura Jones has won the Archibald Prize 2024 and $100,000 for her portrait of Australian author and conservationist Tim Winton.


Jones’ win marks the 14th time the Archibald Prize has been awarded to a woman and she becomes the 12th woman to win since its inception in 1921.


A four-time Archibald Prize finalist, Jones said her heart was racing when Art Gallery of New South Wales director Michael Brand phoned this morning to deliver the news that she had won this year’s Archibald Prize.


‘There is an array of brilliant finalists for the 2024 Archibald Prize. I am shocked and humbled to be chosen as the winner. This is a life-changing moment for me. I would like to thank my sitter, Tim Winton. Tim is one of the world’s greatest novelists and also a tireless advocate for the environment. He is an inspiration to me as both an artist and as a human being,’ said Jones.

Archibald 2024 winner Tim Winton
Archibald 2024 winner Tim Winton


Jones was moved to paint Winton after undertaking an artist residency in 2016, dedicated to studying the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, which preceded a meeting with Winton at an environmental advocacy event.


‘I wrote Tim a letter and sent him a book of my reef paintings, and we seemed to really connect on our interest in climate activism. I was amazed by the humility of this great novelist, who has enchanted generations of Australian readers. Last year, I watched his ABC documentary, Ningaloo Nyinggulu, about the fight to save Ningaloo Reef. It was beautiful and terrifying … I was stunned to discover a portrait of Tim had never been a finalist in the Archibald Prize,’ said Jones.


‘I approached his portrait as if it was a monotype, using thin brushstrokes and letting the paint bleed across the canvas like ink into paper. Dreamy yet direct.’


Based in Kurrajong in Greater Western Sydney, Jones credits her childhood spent in nature as a driver of her practice and her passion for environmental advocacy. Working across painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture, she creates compositions that explore the complex relationships between humanity and nature.


Jones has been a finalist in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, Portia Geach Memorial Award, The King’s School Art Prize, and the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship. She has exhibited in public and commercial galleries since 2011, and her work is held in the Artbank collection, as well as Australian and international private collections.


Tim Winton is an acclaimed Australian novelist, revered for his ability to evoke rich and diverse Australian landscapes. He has authored 30 books, including the Miles Franklin Award-winning novels Cloudstreet (1991) and Breath (2008). Based in Perth, he has dedicated much of the last two decades to campaigning to protect Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef. In 2023, he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished services to both literature and environmental advocacy.


On hearing of Jones’ win, Winton said: ‘I have to admit that I’m a very reluctant sitter, but I had seen Laura’s paintings of the Great Barrier Reef coral gardens, including her beautiful and tragic depictions of coral bleaching, so I was a little more curious and open than usual.


‘After we spoke for a while on the phone it was clear we had some pressing concerns in common, like the fate of our oceans, and our culture’s refusal to take the climate emergency seriously, so I ended up agreeing to sit for her. She flew across to WA and it ended up being another long and engaging conversation! I haven’t seen the portrait properly yet, but this is lovely news. I’m thrilled for Laura. She’ll be beside herself.’


Jones’ painting was selected from 1005 entries for the Archibald Prize in 2024 and is one of 57 finalists on display at the Art Gallery.


Art Gallery director Michael Brand said Jones was overwhelmed when she took his phone call.


‘When you look at this sensitive portrait, you can immediately feel the strong connection between the artist and sitter, forged through their shared interest in conservation. Laura’s bold but tender depiction of Tim’s face captures his vulnerability, while his figure melds into the background of wonderful watery brushstrokes. He is very present in the painting, making it a most deserving winner,’ Brand said.


The Archibald Prize and the Wynne Prize winners are decided by the Art Gallery’s Board of Trustees. Board president David Gonski said, ‘I congratulate all of the finalists in the 2024 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes. The trustees were extremely pleased to see such a high standard of work this year and were particularly impressed by Laura Jones’ portrait of Tim Winton, unanimously awarding it the 2024 Archibald Prize.’


Jones is also one of 40 finalists in the 2024 Sulman Prize, for her painting Sliding doors, and she is one of the subjects of Daniel Kim’s 2024 Archibald Prize finalist work, Blue jeans and flowers, where she is portrayed alongside fellow Incognito Art Show co-founders Ed and David Liston. Jones has also been a finalist in the 2021 Wynne Prize for her painting titled Bushfire ephemerals – Wollangambe wilderness.

All finalists in the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2024 will be exhibited at the Art Gallery from Saturday 8 June to Sunday 8 September 2024.


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