With a new year comes new possibilities. As part of the 2021 Lester Prize exhibition there is an exciting new prize, the Barton Family Foundation Installers Prize. This prize, worth $5000, will be chosen by the Art Gallery of Western Australia’s very own instillation team. As they receive, unpack, and hang the 40 finalist’s artwork from all around the country, the team made a collaborative decision as to who the prize should be awarded.

The winning artwork of the inaugural 2021 Barton Family Foundation Installers Prize for the 2021 Lester Prize is Sidney Tapia’s Portrait of Siaosi Feiloakitau.


Artwork credit: Sidney Tapia Through you 2020. Oil on wooden board, 22 x 22 cm. Photography: Annie Harvey

Sidney explains the portrait is of “Siaosi Feiloakitau, known as Sia, [who] is a very gentle, easy going and humble man I met on Pitt Street in the Sydney CBD while he was asking passers-by for spare change. He lives a very simple life, worked a warehouse job, and enjoyed playing rugby league when he was younger. Originally from Tonga, he now resides in Sydney.” 

The installation team expresses the decision to award Sidney with the winning prize.

“This artwork was chosen amongst portraits in which the “Gaze” coming from within the subjects played a large part, as there are many varied senses conveyed. Some are dower and others peaceful, compassionate, and knowing. The eyes of Tapia’s subject are looking back…a quick determined flash, to gain perhaps…a demand for recognition or a simple stare to communicate’ catch up!” A fine artwork above all else.”

The Lester Prize Exhibition opens this Saturday 16th October and runs until the 29th November 2021. Be sure to see Sidney Tapia’s ‘Through you 2020’ portrait in person along with the other finalists and fellow prize winners at the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

Please note that as the Art Gallery of Western Australia is currently under refurbishment the main entrance is closed. You will have to enter the exhibition through the Beaufort Street entry.

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