The Archibald Prize exhibit is coming to Gippsland

Julia Ciccarone,The Question, 2010, oil on linen, 85 x 215cm. Courtesy the artist and Niagara Galleries, RACV Art Collection.

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted September 30, 2021

Visit Australia’s most prestigious portrait exhibition in Sale and experience all that Gippsland has to offer.

The Archibald Prize has been awarded, and finally we are able to cast our eyes on the magnificent portraits for 2021. This year, Australia’s most prestigious portrait exhibition will be held only at Sale’s Gippsland Art Gallery; approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes from Melbourne. Not only does the exhibition give art-lovers an opportunity to take in the splendid artworks, but also provides an excuse to make a holiday out of it when visiting the Gippsland region. 

Mayor of Wellington Shire Council, Cr Garry Stephens, said they were looking forward to welcoming  Victorians to central Gippsland once restrictions ease, "to not only experience the Archibald Prize, but... everything else that our amazing region has to offer".

"The Archibald Prize provides the opportunity to show off to visitors the wonderful area that we call home, whilst also supporting our tourism industry," he said.

For those looking to make a trip out of their visit to the Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale is the ideal base for exploring the wider Gippsland region, including 90 Mile Beach, Port Albert, Tarra Bulga National Park, Yarram’s Heesco murals and plenty of wineries and dining experiences.

So whether you plan for a day trip or a longer stay, there’s plenty more to do when heading down to enjoy Sale's Archibald Prize 2021 exhibit. Here’s our insider’s guide on the best way to enjoy your experience at Gippsland Art Gallery and the wider region. 

* Times, dates and details subject to change. For the most up to date information, please see the Archibald Prize 2021 website * 

All about the Archibald Prize exhibit 2021

What is the Archibald Prize? 

Celebrating its 100th show, the Archibald prize features portrait paintings from across Australia and New Zealand, and has long been regarded as both nations' most prestigious portraiture award. Judged by the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW, generally, the Archibald Prize exhibition features portraits that are  ‘preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia.’

It received its name from J.F Archibald, a newspaper editor who bequeathed the competition in his will in 1921. 

These days, the competition is revered by both emerging and well-respecting artists across the nation, with the current prize sitting at $100,000, as well as wider recognition and respect for the artists and their work.

This year, over 52 portraits will be on display, including the Archibald Prize winning portrait of artist Guy Warren painted by Melbourne’s own Peter Wegner, and the Packing Room Prize winning artwork (generally known as the staff vote) of singer Kate Cebrano, by Sydney’s Kathrin Longhurst. 

Fun fact: RACV Goldfields is home to a prestigious artwork by Julia Ciccarone, who previously won the Archibald People’s Choice Award (featured below). 

Archibald Prize 2021 Winner Peter Wegner Portrait of Guy Warren at 100 oil on canvas, 120.5 x 151.5 cm © the artist Photo: AGNSW, Jenni Carter Sitter: Guy Warren
Winner Packing Room Prize 2021 Kathrin Longhurst Kate oil on linen, 122 x 122 cm © the artist Photo: AGNSW, Jenni Carter Sitter: Kate Ceberano
Julia Ciccarone, The Question, 2010, oil on linen, 85 x 215cm. Courtesy the artist and Niagara Galleries, RACV Art Collection.

Are any special events on for the exhibit?

The events team at the gallery have been busy curating a range of activities around the exhibit, including:

  • For the kids - the Gallery’s Portrait Play art space will provide the opportunity for children to learn about portraiture and draw their very own artworks as a budding Young Archie! For a guided session, adults can book kids in with Gippsland Portrait Artist and Teacher Alvina Edwards to create an oil pastel or acrylic paint portrait, as well as visiting the exhibit from the Young Archies program. 
  • For budding artists – every Sunday from 12 - 3 pm throughout the exhibit, guests are welcome to ‘draw’ inspiration and sketch with the local portrait group, or can consider booking in with local artist Klara Jones to learn how to create their very own portrait. For painters, visitors can book in a class to create a portrait with Black Swan Portrait Prize winner Dawn Stubbs. 
  • For art historians – Every Saturday and Sunday at 2.15 pm, visitors can join the Gallery Guided tour to get more insights on the contemporary works, attend a conversation with an Archibald Prize finalist. or book a ticket to a documentary and Q & A session about painter Keith Looby.  
  • For night lovers – a Friday night highlight for those who prefer an up-late session, from 6 pm - 10 pm the exhibit will feature a live band, drinks and food from local suppliers in the Gippsland region.
  • Pop-up Portrait Speed Date – no, not that kind! Three times a week during the exhibition, drop in for a ‘speed date’ with a Gallery Guide who will give you more info on a couple of portraits.

 Find more on times and dates for these events here.

Archibald Prize 2021 finalist Julian Meagher Fozzy oil on linen, 56.5 x 46 cm © the artist Photo: AGNSW, Mim Stirling Sitter: Craig Foster
Archibald Prize 2021 finalist Sally Ross Autoportrait oil on board, 130 x 110 cm © the artist Photo: AGNSW, Jenni Carter Sitter: Sally Ross

What else should I do while I’m in Sale? 

Sale is the ideal base for exploring the wider Gippsland region, with destinations such as 90 Mile Beach, Port Albert, Tarra Bulga National Park, Yarram’s Heesco murals and plenty of wineries and dining experiences all within easy reach.

Exploring - road trippers can come for the exhibit and stay for the region, including a wander around the stunning Port of Sale Botanic Gardens. For those who prefer their tours to be more leisurely, take a boat ride with the Port of Sale Heritage Cruises for a background on the area’s Gunnaikurnai First People to the modern day - don’t miss the opportunity to check out Sale’s 19th century Swing Bridge while you’re there! For more detail on what to get up to in Sale, visit our local guide.

Getting around - visitors coming for the exhibit are provided with ‘The Archie Bus,’ a free hop-on-hop-off transportation service connecting guests from the gallery to the main tourist attractions,  including the Botanic Gardens, Port of Sale (below), Swing Bridge, and to the centre of town. 

Staying longer – those looking to make a holiday out of it can consider our guide to South Gippsland, with a range of ways to explore the region and a stay at the RACV Inverloch Resort, Gippsland Coast.

Are there any package offers?

The town of Sale are getting around the Archibald, with a range of ticket holder discounts on local events and tours, including car shows and jazzing high teas running throughout the exhibition. RACV Members also get a discount, so make sure you don’t miss out! 

The Gippsland Art Gallery in Sale, Victoria.
The Gippsland Art Gallery in Sale, Victoria.
The Port of Sale by day.

What are the details for the Archibald Prize exhibition?  

  • Exhibit: Archibald Prize 2021 at Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale, Victoria.
  • Date: from 8 October to 21 November 2021.
  • Location: Gippsland Art Gallery, 70 Foster Street, Sale, Victoria.  

Tickets: RACV Members receive 10% off admission by entering the promo code R4C2 at checkout.
Book now  →




Banner and thumbnail: Archibald Prize 2021 Peoples Choice Winner Julia Ciccarone The sea within oil on linen, 101.5 x 183.5 cm © the artist Photo: AGNSW, Felicity Jenkins Sitter: Julia Ciccarone

Captions and images supplied by the Rights & Image Licensing department Art Gallery of New South Wales.