Eurovision artist Montaigne featured in winning Archibald prize
A portrait of Montaigne, who represented Australia at Eurovision in 2021 with 'Technicolour' and was also due to represent us in 2020 with 'Don't Break Me', has taken out this year's coveted Archibald Prize.
The artwork titled 'Head in the sky, feet on the ground' was created by Montaigne's friend 29-year-old Julia Gutman.
Montaigne becomes the first female musician to be the subject of a victorious Archibald entry.
According to Gutman, her and Montaigne share several similarities in their respective artistries and there was a "lot of alignment" in their practices.
"We are both interested in creating our own forms and approaches rather than strictly adhering to any one tradition... Montaigne's work defies genres, while her mercurial soprano has become an indelible part of the fabric of Australian music."
Gutman's work was declared the winner out of the 57 finalists and 949 entries. She is only the 11th woman to have won the Archibald Prize in its 102-year history, and received $100 000 in prize money for her victory.
The winning artwork is unique as it contains fabric from Gutman's very own clothing. Montaigne's blue sleeve in the portrait was fashioned from an apron Gutman wore whilst teaching art to children in New York.
The Archibald Prize is presented by the Art Gallery of NSW who describe it as being "awarded annually to the best portrait, 'preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia.'"
Gutman and Montaigne's victory was not the only Australian Eurovision connection to this year's Archibald Prize. Another finalist was Michael Simms' portrait of Zaachariaha Fielding. The latter is one half of Electric Fields who finished runners-up in Australia Decides in 2019.
Fielding also won the prestigious $50,000 Wynne Prize for best landscape painting of Australian scenery, demonstrating he is a person of many talents. The Wynne Prize was announced at the same event as the Archibald Prize. Fielding's artwork Inma depicts the sounds of Mimili, which as an Aboriginal community in the eastern part of the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands.
It seems only fitting that a week out from Eurovision, former Australian participants and national final contestants are making big waves at other creative events.
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