Michael Bell wins KILGOUR PRIZE 2020

Local Mambo artist and art teacher Michael Bell has won the prestigious KILGOUR PRIZE 2020 with a whimsical double self-portrait.

Councillor Carol Duncan announced Michael Bell as the winner of the $50,000 art prize via a livestreamed announcement at Newcastle Art Gallery today.

Chosen from more than 350 entries and 30 finalists from across Australia, Bell’s painting Starting The after party (Two self-portraits) 2020, depicts the artist standing in front of another self-portrait The after party, which was a finalist in the KILGOUR PRIZE 2019.

The KILGOUR PRIZE 2020 was judged by Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton and invited judges Rachel Arndt – Gallery Programs and Touring Exhibitions Manager, Museums and Galleries of NSW, and Stephen Gilchrist – Curator and Lecturer Art History, The University of Sydney.

The judges were impressed by the composition of the winning painting and details of the studio throughout – the bottle of linseed oil, the motivational quotes stuck up on the wall, the tip of the dog’s nose on the canvas to the right – a nod to some of the artist’s most well-known dog beach works. 

“The City of Newcastle is honoured to be the home of the KILGOUR PRIZE, which has firmly established itself as one of Australia’s major art prizes,” Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“This is highlighted by the immense quality of the works and artists who have entered this year. I congratulate Michael Bell on joining the list of accomplished artists to have taken out the KILGOUR PRIZE.”

Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton said it was a wonderful acknowledgement of a much-loved and highly respected local artist.

“Michael Bell’s career spans over 30 years. A teacher at the Newcastle Art School, Bell has been included as a finalist in exhibitions such as The Archibald Prize, The Sulman Prize and the KILGOUR PRIZE. Bell has also designed for iconic Australian brands such as Triple J and surf label Mambo Australia,” Ms Morton said.

The KILGOUR PRIZE is administered by Newcastle Art Gallery and funded via a bequest from Australian artist Jack Noel Kilgour, administered by The Trust Company, Part of Perpetual.

The KILGOUR PRIZE 2020 exhibition showcases the 30 finalists and is on display at Newcastle Art Gallery from 1 August to 15 November 2020.

People’s Choice Award

In addition to the overall prize, the KILGOUR PRIZE 2020 competition includes a People’s Choice Award of $5,000. Visitors to the exhibition can vote for the People’s Choice Award until 5pm Wednesday 21 October 2020. The winner will be announced Monday 26 October 2020.

More information on the current year’s exhibition: