|Arrernte and Kalkadoon artist Thea Anamara Perkins has been announced as the recipient of the 2023 La Prairie Art Award, an acquisitive award championing the work of Australian women artists presented by the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Swiss luxury skincare house, La Prairie. |
The award supports Australian women artists through an international artist residency and the development or expansion of a new body of work, which is acquired by the Art Gallery for its collection.
Perkins was selected by the Art Gallery of NSW and La Prairie for her intimate portraits of First Nations people and striking depictions of Country. She draws inspiration for her work from her family archive of photographs, turning family snapshots into tender portraits, while taking charge of the representation of First Nations people and asserting the agency of those she depicts.
Perkins’ acquisitive work comprises four portraits representing three generations of her family members: a portrait of her sister surrounded by family at the moment candles are being lit on her birthday cake; a Bondi Beach scene of her grandfather, mother and uncle from the late 1960s; Thea’s mother and grandfather at his university graduation ceremony; and a portrait of her grandfather and aunt at Telegraph Station in Mparntwe/Alice Springs, a site of historical significance to the family.
Perkins said she is honoured to be the second recipient of the La Prairie Art Award: ‘I believe it’s crucial that artists are well supported to create their work. I’m really excited by the international residency with La Prairie. It’s invaluable to have this opportunity to extend my practice internationally, especially as a First Nations artist.’
‘My work delves into my family archives of photographs, and through the painting process, communicates the essence of these images. Fleeting, yet suspended in time, they are storied, and coloured by my own emotions and memories. They seek to express the love and strength in First Nations families and situate these instances of joy and belonging, or ‘glimmers’ into our collective imagination,’ added Perkins.
As part of the international artist residency, Perkins will travel to Switzerland to attend the Art Basel international art fair in June as a VIP guest of La Prairie.