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Archibald Prize Winner

Geoffrey Dyer - Richard Flanagan

Geoffrey Dyer Richard Flanagan

GEOFFREY DYER Richard Flanagan

Geoffrey Dyer has won the 2003 Archibald Prize for his portrait of Richard Flanagan. The Archibald Prize is now in its 82nd year. Geoffrey Dyer receives a prize of $35,000.

Predominantly a landscape painter, Geoffrey Dyer paints a portrait once a year for the Archibald Prize and likes to choose fellow Tasmanians as his subject. Richard Flanagan is the acclaimed author of books including Death of a River Guide and The Sound of One Hand Clapping. He also directed the film of The Sound of One Hand Clapping. Dyer, served, in part, as a model for the character William Buelow Gould in his most recent novel Gould's Book of Fish. "This was, in keeping with my friendship with Mr Dyer, an act of optimism," says Flanagan.

"I've known him for a few years," says Dyer. "The arts community in Hobart is quite small and many of us meet at the local Republic Hotel for a beer. Richard is a local celebrity without trying to be one. With Gould's Book of Fish, he has really hit the big time." In the past, Dyer has used backgrounds in his portraits - a darkened theatre for NIDA director John Clark, the landscape of Gallipoli for Gallipoli veteran Alec Campbell. "I decided for this one to cut the background out and just have some colour that reflects the West Coast of Tassie, that deep yellow mustard colour," says Dyer. "I wanted to get the sense of Richard as a bloke who stands up for himself. He's a tough character and he doesn't pull punches. In a fairly conservative town like Hobart, he's a breath of fresh air."

Recently Flanagan, along with writers including Peter Carey, withdrew from the 2003 Tasmania Pacific Literary Prize (the nation's most lucrative literary prize) in protest at the elevation of Forestry Tasmania to a major sponsor of the Tasmanian arts festival, Ten Days on the Island. "I thought I'm going to try and throw the fellow out of the canvas and have him question the viewer," says Dyer. "I wanted something tough rather than decorative. And that's the way I went for it."

Born in Hobart in 1947, Dyer studied at the Tasmanian School of Art. He has exhibited regularly at galleries around Australia since1970. In 1998, he was part of Out of Australia, a group show seen in Shanghai and the following year was represented in Out of Australia 2000 in Hong Kong. He has been in the Archibald Prize on six previous occasions, the Wynne Prize eight times and was a finalist in the 1997 Sulman Prize. His work is represented in many public and private collections in Australia and overseas.

The Archibald, Wynne, Sulman Prizes and the Citigroup Private Bank Australian Photographic Portrait Prize:

On view Saturday 22 March to Sunday 25 May 2003
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road
Sydney, Australia
Telephone 61 2 9225 1744 or recorded information 61 2 9225 1790
Nationwide toll free 1800 679 278
Hours 10am to 5pm 7 days a week
Open until 9pm on Wednesdays
Admission $8 adults / $6 students/concessions

Media Information:
Jan Batten (02) 9225 1791 or 0418 279 348
Jacquie Belcher (02) 9225 1647 or 0413 382 147