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Local Artist Laura Jones Wins Archibald

Jun 7, 2024

“I am thrilled beyond words and never expected to win the Archibald Prize,” said Laura Jones. “Growing up in Kurrajong, I always dreamed of being an artist. Today, that dream feels truly validated.”

Laura Jones, a native of Kurrajong, has won Australia’s top art award, the Archibald Prize, for her portrait of author and environmental advocate Tim Winton. The Sydney-based artist accepted her award at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, marking a significant achievement in her career.

Jones said she hopes that this recognition will inspire young girls to pursue careers in art. Reflecting on her childhood, she added, “As a little girl in Kurrajong, I dreamed about being an artist: I’ve been lucky enough to make that dream come true. More than any other event, today shows that I wasn’t completely crazy.”

Discussing her portrait of Winton, Jones told ABC News, “I wanted to highlight his environmental advocacy through my painting.” During her visit to Winton in Fremantle, they discussed printmaking, political activism, and environmental issues, which influenced her artistic approach. She adopted a technique resembling monotype printmaking, using thin brushstrokes to let the paint bleed across the canvas like ink into paper.

Jones’ winning portrait of environmental campaigner, Tim Winton

Jones’s victory makes her only the 12th woman to win the Archibald Prize in its 103-year history, joining notable past winners such as Julia Gutman, Nora Heysen, and Del Kathryn Barton.

This year’s Archibald Prize featured 57 finalists, including 29 women, 28 men, and 4 Indigenous Australian artists. Among them, 25 were first-time finalists, with 5 self-portraits and 15 works featuring artists.

This is Jones’s fourth time as an Archibald finalist. She previously painted actor Claudia Karvan (2023), journalist Brooke Boney (2022), and playwright Nakkiah Lui (2019). Additionally, she was a finalist in this year’s Sulman Prize for her self-portrait titled *Sliding Doors*.

Jones hopes her work continues to enchant, much like Winton’s philosophy that “the purpose of art is not to persuade, but to enchant.”

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