Home Arts & Entertainment Archibald Prize: Portrait of Lindy Lee wins

Archibald Prize: Portrait of Lindy Lee wins


It’s been third time’s a charm for Sydney artist Tony Costa who has won the 2019 Archibald Prize for his portrait of painter Lindy Lee.

Costa has been announced the winner of the prestigious prize at the Art Gallery of NSW and takes home $100,000 prize money.

“I’m absolutely overwhelmed, honoured and thrilled,” Costa said in a statement.

“I am very aware of all those who have come before me as Archibald Prize winners and I am humbled, to say the least.”

He has made the final cut three times previously – in 2015, 2017 and 2018 – but it’s the first time he has won the prestigious prize.

The inspiration

Costa’s subject Lee is a leading contemporary Australian artist and Zen Buddhist.

Her practice explores her Chinese ancestry through the philosophies of Taoism and (Zen) Buddhism.

“I listened to an interview Lindy gave at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and found myself agreeing with many of her ideas,” Costa said.

“I was attracted to her wisdom, humility, courage, humour and, above all, her deep focus regarding her art practice.

“I approach each painting with an empty head, beginning every portrait with charcoal drawings as I collect sensations and information.

“The challenge for me is to trap the energy of my sitter – the emotional feeling over and above the physical reality.

“In my portrait of Lindy, I have kept the colour minimal to avoid any visual noise.

“Ultimately the invention and the unity of the work is what matters most.”

Highly commended

Artist Jude Rae was runner up, awarded a highly commended for her portrait of New Zealand actress Sarah Peirse.

Peirse is best known for her role in film Heavenly Creatures, alongside Kate Winslet.

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