FOR a quarter of a century now, an annual procession of the nation’s most-recognised faces have arrived in the Riverina to cop a country roasting, and a big slice of humble pie.
The Bald Archy Prize, which is headquartered in Coolac, assembles a who’s who of Australian celebrities as represented through satirical portraits.
The annual exhibition catalogues the excessive egos and cathartic comeuppances of Australia’s politicians, public figures and ‘personalities.’
In an Australian first, Museum of the Riverina displays every winning portrait since the prize’s inception in 1994. It is a comical tour through recent social history, evoking the people and the stories that have captivated and aggravated the nation.
Some of the tales recalled by Bald Archy winners, such as ‘the Chase for Skase,’ the titanic tussles of Packer and Murdoch, and the unlikely alliance between Hanson and Howard, seem like ancient history.
Many of the paintings relate to stories that are very much still ongoing. Pat Hudson’s Nothing to Say references Cardinal Pell’s seemingly taciturn responses to revelations of abuse in the Catholic Church.
Pocket Rocket, which captures David Warner’s larger than life personality on the cricket field, might seem prophetic after his explosive off-pitch confrontation with a South African player this week.
Accompanying the 24 prize-winning portraits is a collection from the shorter-lived Bald Archy sculpture competition, which featured caricatured gnomes of Australia’s best and brightest.
While popular with the punters, as entries became larger and heavier, the touring logistics became increasingly difficult. Thus, the cheeky little Archibald Gnomes were themselves consigned to history.
The Best of the Bald Archy Prize is on exhibition at Museum of the Riverina’s Historic Council Chambers site (corner Baylis and Morrow streets) Tuesday to Sunday until May 13.
- The Best of the Bald Archy Prize
- Roaming Around the Riverina
- Kidzone discovery and play area for kids
- The Wagga Wagga Sporting Hall of Fame
- Worth Their Weight In Gold: Wagga Women In WWI
- He Belonged To Wagga
- People and Place
- From Barbed Wire To Boundary Fences
- The Sauntering Emu & Other Stories
- Tom Castro: The Man Who Never Was
- Nurse Burke: Riverina Midwife
- The Curious Collection Of Sylvia Seccombe