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Local Gallery Owner A Finalist In The 2024 Archibald Prize!

Local gallery owner, Camellia Morris has just been named as a finalist in the highly coveted Archibald Prize.

Camellia was born in Singapore and later migrated to Sydney with her family, where she studied and worked as an accountant and took up painting later in life. She is a self-taught artist and this is her first time as an Archibald finalist.

She chose Anthony Field, one of the founding member sof the children’s entertainment group, The Wiggles as her subject, but this isn’t her first time painting one of the group.

‘Wild Wild Wiggle’, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 183 x 91.5 cm, Camellia’s portrait of OG Blue Wiggle, Anthony Field, a Finalist for the Archibald Prize 2024 at the Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney.

“In 2022, The Wiggles won Triple J’s Hottest 100 competition,” says Camellia. “I asked Jeff Fatt (the original purple Wiggle) to sit for me, and Jeff’s portrait was selected for the 2022 Salon des Refusés.”

“Painting Jeff led to meeting Anthony Field on Instagram. I asked Anthony to sit for me and he agreed,” says Camellia. “The portrait is a tribute to Anthony’s achievements and contribution to children’s entertainment over more than 30 years.”

“Being selected as an Archibald finalist was something I aspired to for as long as I’ve been an artist.  The Archibald Prize is Australia’s most prestigious art prize, so I was extremely pleased to be selected.  To have my painting exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW is a dream come true,” says Camellia.

Camellia’s portrait of Jeff (the Purple Wiggle) titled, ‘Sleeping on the job’, oil on canvas, 101 x 152 cm.

On the technique and style of the portrait, Camellia says like her, Anthony is an avid Elvis Presley fan.

“With our shared love of Presley, I was inspired by Andy Warhol’s classic portrait ‘Elvis’, which shows Presley in a gunslinging cowboy pose,” says Camellia. “My initial idea was to get Anthony to use his famous “Wiggle guns” (his fingers) in place of Elvis’s revolver.  But unexpectedly, Anthony went into the prop room and returned with a double holster complete with plastic bananas – perfect!”

“Before the portrait sitting, I googled images of Anthony and noted he was smiling broadly in all of them!  I was a little concerned that viewers might not recognise him with a stern expression.  Also, the sitting was just after the Christmas New Year break and Anthony had grown a beard.  He asked if he could keep the beard.  I had my hesitations at first, but in hindsight the beard does add to the Wiggle-gone-rogue look, so I’m glad we decided to keep the beard.”

One of Camellia Morris’ beachscapes (2024)

“The Wiggles’ skivvies remind me of superhero costumes, so I used saturated colours and bold outlines evocative of comic book illustrations,” says Camellia. “I used synthetic polymer paint, which I find clean and bright for this piece.  Sweeping brush strokes of thinned paint for his trousers create movement and energy, and a “rock star” feel.

Camellia’s work can be viewed in person at her studio and gallery on Spit Road in Mosman (by appointment).  New works are displayed in the gallery window for passing traffic on Spit Road, and also posted on Instagram and her website.

She is currently working on family portrait commissions (including pooches), and larger beach-scapes with an exhibition in mind for later this year.

Camellia Morris Art

Shop 1, 138 Spit Road

Mosman NSW 2088

Website: camelliamorrisart

Instagram: camelliamorrisart

In another local connection, you can see more of fellow Archibald finalist, Tim Owers at Frame 88 Gallery in Willoughby.

His portrait of Cortnee Vine has also been selected as a finalist in the 2024 Archibald Prize.
“The painting, titled ‘On the bench and on the cusp (portrait of Cortnee Vine)’, depicts the Matildas and Sydney Football Club star on the garden bench at my studio. The work seeks to explore the life-changing moment during the Aus v. Fra World Cup quarterfinal when Cortnee was called onto the field, after 104. minutes on the bench, and went on to score “the pen” that will be forever etched into our minds!” says artist Tim Owers.
If you didn’t get in to see the show, head in now for your last chance to purchase an artwork of this artist who has made finalist in Australia’s most prized art awards.

Frame 88 Gallery

50 Frenchs Rd, Willoughby