Shelley artist claims Black Swan Prize for Portraiture

Artist Jana Vodesil-Baruffi’s Black Swan. Picture: Jon Hewson d474962
Artist Jana Vodesil-Baruffi’s Black Swan. Picture: Jon Hewson d474962

SHELLEY artist Jana Vodesil-Baruffi’s double portrait of her neighbour, Paige, won the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture on Friday night.

Entitled Black Swan, Vodesil-Baruffi said creating the work was the hardest thing she’d done.

The oil painting on linen captures the confronting condition of anorexia.

“Her sad by strong gaze pierces my heart,” she said during an interview with Paige and the Canning Times last month.

The prize is the third richest in Australia, after the Archibald and the Doug Moran, with entries from more than 300 artists nationally.

Vodesil-Baruffi has been a finalist for the award six times and was presented with $50,000 by Lester Group for her winning work.

The finalists were judged by one Australia’s most awarded artists Wendy Sharpe, National Portrait Gallery senior historian Sarah Engledow, and AGWA Historical and Modern Art curator Melissa Harpley.

The judges described her work as a close observation of the human condition and they remarked on the meaningful use of the colour black.

They also noted the beautifully painted hair, flesh and fabric to captivate the viewer, with a subtle contrast between two figures, one withdrawn and one bold.

Vodesil-Baruffi runs Metamorphosis Art Gallery in Willetton.

Black Swan will be displayed along with the finalist works at the Art Gallery of WA until November 27.

Anyone needing help with eating disorders can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Butterfly Foundation on 1800 334 673.

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