Jana Vodesil-Baruffi – 6th Time Finalist and 1st Time Winner

Congratulations Jana Vodesil-Baruffi, winner of the 2017 Black Swan Prize for Portraiture.

In form and title, WA artist Jana Vodesil-Baruffi’s winning work ‘Black Swan’ was a striking work to get the judges attention this year. Her sixth time as a finalist in the eleven years of the prize, for Jana the painting of the subject of this portrait was the most challenging processes in her career.

Jana stated, “The need to try to help (my subject) to overcome her eating disorder was urgent and forever present. The failure was evident and in front of my eyes every second of my working time and long after, making me feel powerless and guilty. Her sad but strong gaze pierces my heart. My intention was to help her to see the grim reality of her condition, but my artistic eye was selfishly seeing the hidden beauty and magical symmetry in her structure”.

The forty finalists were judged by artist Wendy Sharpe, Dr Sarah Engledow, Senior Historian at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra and Melissa Harpley, Curator of Historical and Modern Art, AGWA.

Highly commended on the night was Effie Pryer from Tasmania for her portrait ‘Till death us’ of a young co-worker and her pet macaws, and Natasha Walsh from NSW for her marble self-portrait ‘In the studio’.

Introduced last year was the $10,000 Toni Fini Foundation Artist Prize, which allows the finalists themselves to vote for their favourite work.  The winner of this peer assessment was Sydney artist Marie Mansfield for her work ‘Mertim’.

EXHIBITION
Black Swan Prize
Until 27 November 2017
Art Gallery of Western Australia

Courtesy the artists and the Black Swan Prize.