The Lester Prize 2022

The Lester Prize 2022

The Lester Prize is one of the country’s most recognised and prestigious fine art prizes – an award that places artists and the community proudly front and centre.

The prize pool available to professional and emerging artists is over $105,000. This includes the Richard Lester Prize for Portraiture of $50,000.

This year's 40 finalists were chosen from more than 700 entries received from artists across Australia. Amongst the 2022 Finalists are 13 artists from Victoria, 11 from WA, 10 from NSW, three from QLD, 2 from Tasmania and one from South Australia. The Lester Prize 2022 sees the return of former Finalists Hamid Abbasi, Sophia Alone, Andy Quilty, Jill Talbot, Nathan Paddison and Elizabeth Barden.

The Finalists were chosen by an independent pre-selection panel consisting of Dr Clarissa Ball, Director of the UWA Institute of Advanced Studies, Amy Barrett-Lennard, Director of the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA), Linton Partington, Founding Director of Linton & Kay Galleries, Bahar Sayed, Curatorial Assistant at AGWA, and Tyrown Waigana, artist and designer

This year's prize pool consists of:
• The Richard Lester Prize for Portraiture (selected by a panel of judges) | $50,000 cash
• Tony Fini Foundation Artist Prize (selected by artists’ peers) | $15,000 cash
• Minderoo Foundation Spirit Prize (selected by Minderoo Foundation) | $10,000 cash
• Baldock Family People’s Choice Prize (selected by the general public) | $15,000 cash
• Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize (selected by a panel of judges) | $5,000 cash
• Highly Commended (selected by a panel of judges) | up to $6,000 value
• Barton Family Foundation Installers’ Prize (selected by AGWA's installation team) | $5,000 cash

The Finalists’ artworks will be on display at AGWA from 1 October to 20 November 2022.

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Related Information



Sophia Alone Respect Grandfather Kutri Makanykarra 2022
Sophia Alone Respect Grandfather Kutri Makanykarra 2022. Acrylic on canvas, 44.5 x 44.5 cm. Courtesy of the artist.


Winner of The Richard Lester Prize for Portraiture 2022

Congratulations to Sophia Alone who has won this year's The Richard Lester Prize for Portraiture (selected by a panel of judges). Sophia has be awarded $50,000 cash for her work titled Respect Grandfather Kutri Makanykarra. Sophia was also the recipient of the $10,000 Minderoo Foundation Spirit Prize.

Judges' comments:

"All of us were immediately drawn to the intimacy of this work. The work draws you in close but opens out into a wider world and context of family and Country. The way the details of the face were sensitively captured give a sense of her grandfather’s character, personality, and close relationship with the artist. The vibrant contrasting colours and brushwork create a unique energy that brings the portrait to life."

About The Lester Prize

The Lester Prize is managed by The Lester Inc, a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2007 to provide an avenue for artists to exhibit works of portraiture within Western Australia. With an annual prize pool worth over $105,000, it is now one of the nation’s most recognised and prestigious art prizes.

Working with government, peak arts bodies and community groups, it plays a critical role in helping to diversify WA’s local economy, grow cultural tourism, and activate spaces through creative placemaking. The Lester Prize is proud to provide locals and visitors with the opportunity to engage with the best of the artform each year in a format that puts the artists and community front-and-centre. The Lester Prize’s exhibitions and public events program is targeted at diverse groups in the community and includes artist floor talks, workshops, live art demonstrations and pop-up community activations across the city.

On Saturday 27 August, the Gallery is open 10am-3pm only as we prepare for the AGWA Foundation Gala supporting women in the arts. Some exhibition access will be disrupted with two Tracks We Share ground floor galleries closed. AGWA Rooftop bar will be closed, reopening at 2pm Sunday. Details