Irreverent caricatures headed for Bunker Gallery
ONE of the art world's most irreverent exhibitions returns to Coffs Harbour this week, and to mark its 20th anniversary it will be staying a week longer than usual.
The 2013 Bald Archys will be unveiled at the Bunker Cartoon Gallery tonight.
The comic portrait competition made its debut in 1994 as part of the Coolac Festival of Fun but now enjoys a worldwide reputation with media outlets such as CNN, BBC and The New York Times known to report the winning entry.
Bald Archy founder and director Peter Batey said the continuing success of the Bald Archys was due to it "basically being a send-up which takes the mickey out of The Archibald Prize.
"The reason it has become so popular with people from all walks of life - academics to the man-in-the-street - is that it reflects the irrever- ent larrikinism that is the essence of the Australian sense of humour. It's a big joke - just for fun," Mr Batey said.
"The Archibald Prize is judged by the Board of the Art Gallery of NSW, nine people of various quali- fications, but how do they cumulatively judge?"
The Bald Archy answered that question with an act of anarchy. They appointed a white sulphur-crested cockatoo named Maude as judge, who claims she is as quali- fied as that entire Board of Governors.
After almost 20 years of judging, her claim has not been refuted, the most illuminating comment during that time coming from an astute Sydney journalist: "It takes nine galahs to judge the Archibald Prize, but only one cockatoo to judge the Bald Archy."
This year's Bald Archys exhibition of finalists comes to Coffs Harbour after record-breaking attendances in Canberra, as part of the major Canberra 100 centenary festival, , where it was described as "reverberating with 44 hilariously irreverent portraits", Gundagai and Sydney.
This year's work includes portrayals of John Singleton, Tom Waterhouse, Quentin Crisp, Geoffrey Rush, Russell Crowe, Gina and Ginia Rinehart, Wayne Swan and Edna Everage among many others.