• Meyne Wyatt's Packing Room Prize winning self portrait "Meyne" (Supplied)Source: Supplied
The winning piece started out as a COVID project for the West Australian born, Sydney based artist, writer and actor, who is the first Indigenous artist to win any of the prizes on offer in the Archibald Prize's 99-year history.
Lindy Kerin

17 Sep 2020 - 1:25 PM  UPDATED 21 Sep 2020 - 10:29 AM

Wongutha-Yamatji man and first-time Archibald Prize entrant Meyne Wyatt has won the 2020 Packing Room Prize with his self portrait, titled 'Meyne'.

 The Packing Room Prize is worth $1500 and is judged by the Gallery staff who receive, unpack and hang the entries.

The self portrait has been selected as one of 55 finalist works from a record number of entries received for this year's Archibald Prize.

Speaking at today's event, Meyne Wyatt said it was an honour and a privilege to received the award.

“Being a finalist for the Archibald Prize was a pipe dream, let alone being awarded the Packing Room Prize. I am absolutely ecstatic and truly humbled by this wonderful honour.

“I want to thank the Art Gallery of New South Wales, their staff, Brett Cuthbertson and the Packing Room team.

"Most of all I want to thank my Mum, who encouraged me to enter the Archibald Prize in the first place and gave me the courage to be so bold. In a way, that is the essence of the painting and what it reflects – to be bold,” said Wyatt.

Wyatt’s mother Susan Wyatt is also an artist and was a finalist in the Archibald Prize in 2003 for her portrait of writer Doris Pilkington (Nugi Garimarra).

Art Gallery of New South Wales head packer Brett Cuthbertson said he was very impressed with the work of young man who he'd seen on the television.

“In previous interviews I've constantly said that I would never pick a self portrait. Well I'm full of it, because I've actually picked a self-portrait. But the difference is, this time the artist, is not just an artist, it's also a celebrity. I saw this young guy bring his work in, and I thought, I know that guys face.

"I just thought it was great, he's having a crack, he's never entered before and he hasn't painted for 10 years and it's great." said Brett Cuthbertson. 

A well-known face on Australian stages and screens, Wyatt made headlines in June when he performed his powerful four-minute-speech from his play City Of Gold on ABC’s Q&A program.

His string of film and television credits include The Sapphires, The Turning, and Strangerland, Mystery Road, Neighbours, Redfern Now, Black Comedy, and The Leftovers.

Finalists for the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes have also been announced, along with finalists for the Young Archie competition. The winners will be announced next Friday 25 September.

Finalists in all Prizes will be exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW from 26 September 2020 to 10 January 2021.

Finalists in the Archibald Prize 2020 will tour to regional Queensland and New South Wales from 22 January 2021.