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Brisbane Portrait Competition is open once more

A man and his shed

By Georgia Parsonson

The annual Brisbane Portrait competition is open once more, and the city’s local artists are encouraged to join in the running to share in the cash prize of $87,000. 

The works submitted must contain a portrait of an individual – famous face or not – and various styles are welcome, including painting, sketching, and photography.

It cannot just be any old face. However, As Brisbane’s Lord Mayor, Adrian Schrinner, said, “We do want to see the spirit of Brisbane shine through in the work, so the artist or the portrait’s subject must have a connection to Brisbane – You can even enter a self-portrait.”

Since its inception in 2019, the competition has increased in popularity, with 633 submissions in the inaugural year and 766 in 2020.

“During the global Corona Virus pandemic, we saw the trend of people staying home and getting artistic, and I encourage people of all artistic styles and experience to enter a portrait in the 2021 competition,” said Cr Schrinner.

According to the Lord Mayor, last year’s entries included portraits of Former Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce, local author Rick Searle, and professional boxer Jeff Horn.

Keith Burt took home the Lord Mayor’s prize for his portrait of Matthew and Daniel Tobin, local urban art project pioneers.

Julie Frager received the Sylvia Jones Prize for Women Artists for her COVID-19 inspired self-portrait.

Following last year’s success, Cr SChrinner says, “I’m confident this year’s competition will deliver a showcase of our city from hundreds of different perspectives, creating a lasting legacy.”

Brisbane Portrait prize entries will remain open until August 15th, and winners will be announced at the exhibition launch at the Brisbane Powerhouse on September 29th.

For Brisbane Portrait Prize eligibility and entries, visit

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