Australia's leading prize for drawing, an unparalleled celebration of drawing technique, innovation and expanded drawing practices.

This National Art School touring exhibition showcases 45 of the 64 finalists from the 2023 Prize and includes Jane Grealey’s winning work. Presenting a range of material approaches – from video to ash, charcoal, ink and watercolour – the exhibition demonstrates the remarkable vitality and scope of contemporary Australian drawing. 

William Dobell’s love of drawing was recognised in 1993 when the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation (SWDAF) initiated a drawing prize in his name at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. For 20 years, the annual Dobell Prize for Drawing has encouraged excellence in drawing and draughtsmanship among Australian artists. Past winners include Kevin Connor, David Fairbairn, Virginia Grayson, Nicholas Harding, Ann Pollak, Gareth Sansom, Jan Senbergs, Garry Shead and Aida Tomescu.

Building on the legacy of this respected award, the National Art School partnered with the SWDAF in 2019 to produce the biennial Dobell Drawing Prize. This new competition preserves an important attribute of the original prize, by not stipulating what a drawing is in the terms and conditions of entry. This allows definitions of drawing to shift and evolve with each exhibition, depending on the entries of the artists and the perspectives of the judges. The Dobell Drawing Prize #23– the 23rd exhibition in the Prize’s storied history – continues this tradition of fostering conversations around the changing role of drawing within contemporary art practice.

The winner of the Dobell Drawing Prize is awarded $30,000 and their work becomes part of the National Art School Collection. The judging process is initially undertaken digitally by a panel of practising artists and curators. In 2023, the panel included Paula Latos-Valier (trustee at the SWDAF), (artist) and Katrina Cashman (NAS Galleries Manager and Senior Curator). After 64 finalists were selected out of a record 1067 entries from around the country, and the panel jointly chose the outright winner at the Prize exhibition in March 2023.

This exhibition is on show at the Grafton Regional Gallery from 25 November 2023 to 4 February 2024. 

Dobell Prize logo block

Image Credits:
Julie Rrapp Drawn out 2022, (detail), Video, 12 mins, 160 x 280 cm (dimensions variable). Courtesy the artist, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and Arc One Gallery, Melbourne. 
Homepage square Martin John Oldfield Stochastic Drawing 2022, (detail), Steel and card paper, 100 x 173 x 80 cm. Courtesy the artist.
Slider Tamsin Ainslie Peggy 2022, (detail), charcoal annd graphite on Stonehenge paper, 38 x 47 cm, 56 x 65 cm (framed). Courtesy the artist.


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