Uncle?s brush with fame

ASHLEY Johnston's portrait of his uncle Andrew Ferguson took out the $1000 Archie Bunkers prize at the inaugural portraiture exhibition at Coffs Harbour's Bunker Gallery on Friday night.

"Uncle 'Drew Ferguson has spent all his life in Coffs Harbour and he's a good friend of mine - 'Drew's not here tonight but I'm sure he'd be very happy," the Coffs Harbour painter said when accepting the award from the mayor of Coffs Harbour, Cr Keith Rhoades. Exhibition organiser Shellie Kelly said the award was judged by 'various councillors'.

Later Mr Johnston said he chose his uncle because he had a good smile and was 'a humble bloke who wouldn't put his hand up for this sort of thing ? but he said yes'.

The ANZ Bank Packers Prize went to Bellingen painter Robert Bice for his portrait of talented French sculptor, Camille, who achieved fame only as Rodin's mistress.

The Bunker Cartoon Gallery Young Artist award went to John Paul College art student Kiira Fudge for a work described as 'an intense and well-resolved portrait of her father', by Bunker Gallery director Leigh Summers.

The Tony Withers People's Choice, voted for by those at Friday's exhibition opening, went to Bellingen-based painter Estee Martin for her huge portrait of Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser.

Bellingen-based Ms Martin was floodbound and unable to attend the exhibition opening.

A crowd estimated at 200 people crammed into the Bunker Cartoon Gallery for the opening of the exhibition, which will remain on show for a week.

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