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Grafton Regional Gallery, Cultural and Gallery Development Officer Nardia Walters talks about the work of Archibald finalist ‘Boys of Sydney Grammar Edgecliff Preparatory School, titled Goodbye, Sir! Image: Contributed.

Students take in the Archibald Prize

Lynne Mowbray |

The Archibald Prize 2017 Regional Tour which is currently running at the Grafton Regional Gallery is continuing to captivate the interest students from around the valley.

The first Archibald Prize was staged two years after the death of JF Archibald, who passed away at St Vincent’s Hospital in 1919. Archibald was the founding editor of the Bulletin magazine. The prize was established to foster portraiture and support artists and perpetuate the memory of great Australians.
Last year the prestigious Archibald portraiture prize had 822 entries; keenly contesting the $100,000 prize money, with 43 artists selected as finalists.

Students from many of the schools around the Clarence Valley have visited the Regional Gallery during this year’s Archibald Regional Touring Exhibition.

Grafton Regional Gallery director Jude McBean said that Grafton Public School students were fascinated by a talk given by Cultural and Gallery Development Officer Nardia Walters.

“The talk was about the work of Archibald finalist the boys of Sydney Grammar Edgecliff Preparatory School, titled Goodbye, Sir!”, Ms McBean said.

“This work is collaboration by 301 boys aged between five and 12.

“With an 11,000 square grid drawn on a wooden board, 20 colours and sanding and painting the blocks with a bit of glue, divided between the classes, a portrait of Dr John Vallance, emerged.

“He was a headmaster of Sydney Grammar’s three campuses, who retired in April 2017, after nearly 18 years. He was popular with the students for his sense of humour and open-door policy,” she said.

Ms McBean said that it’s brilliant to see all the local and regional schools checking out one of the oldest and most prestigious art awards.

The Archibald Prize 2017 Regional Tour will be at the Grafton Regional Gallery until March 18.

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