Artist and Art Psychotherapist, Justine Wake, has been nominated for one of Australia’s most prestigious portrait prizes the Western Australian Lester Prize. Formerly known as the Black Swan Prize, Wake was named as one of the forty finalists, with her self portrait, I had not thought of that.

Justine relates her art practice and entry to the Lester Prize, as that of a tree, stating, “…trees, as they age become better at absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. I feel like this is the case with my art practice; I’ve developed some more skills and I’ve spent a lot of time creating but I think the thing I’m actually getting better at, is absorbing the world I experience and using it creatively.”

Creating the portrait while she was on a residency at Tweed Regional Gallery NSW, Wake reflects on her time there as the first time in two decades, of having true solitude from her roles as parent, partner, daughter, sister, friend and therapist. “The portrait reflects a contemplative state and my growing awareness of no longer holding the comfortable convictions and beliefs of youth,” says Wake. Having to submit a portrait of an Australian, or Australians, that they respect or admire, or a self-portrait, Wake has been named as one of only two Queensland entrants to be selected as a finalist. The works will be on public display at the Art Gallery of WA (AGWA) in the Centenary Galleries from 9 November to 9 December 2019, with the winner announced on 8 November 2019.

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