When Anthea da Silva received a call two days ago to tell her she had won Australia’s newest art prize, the $75,000 Darling Portrait Prize, she was driving home from her job as Public Programs Officer at Griffith Regional Art Gallery.
“I pulled over, opened the door in the shade and squealed and screamed,” said da Silva, who also teaches art. “People passing by even checked in to see if I was OK. Then I was told not to tell anybody so I told the cat and the dog.”
Da Silva was finally able to spread word about her success beyond her pets at 11am yesterday, when National Portrait Gallery director Karen Quinlan announced the inaugural winner of the prize.
The winning portrait is of Elizabeth Cameron Dalman, grande dame of Australian contemporary dance. She is pictured seated “momentarily resting her feet, preparing for her next adventure,” says da Silva.