Ben Quilty

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Ben Quilty
Born Ben Quilty
Sydney, Australia
Nationality Australian
Known for Painting, contemporary art
Awards 2014 Prudential Eye Award
2011 Archibald Prize
2009 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize
Website Ben Quilty

Ben Quilty (born 1973 in Sydney) is an Australian artist and social commentator, who won the 2014 Prudential Eye Award, 2011 Archibald Prize and 2009 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize.

Early life and education[edit]

Quilty grew up in Kenthurst in Sydney's north-west.[1] Quilty lives and works in Robertson, New South Wales. He was educated at Kenthurst Public School and Oakhill College, where he exhibited his HSC artwork in ArtExpress 1991. Subsequently, Quilty was selected as the recipient of the Julian Ashton Summer School Scholarship, despite failing Year 12 Art. When he was in Year 11, Quilty was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. After high school, Quilty followed his interest in art and obtained a Bachelor of Visual Arts in Painting from Sydney College of the Arts at the University of Sydney, graduating in 1994.

He then studied visual communication, design and women's studies at Western Sydney University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Design) in 2002. He also obtained a Certificate in Aboriginal Culture and History.

Awards and prizes[edit]

A multiple finalist, Quilty won the Archibald Prize in 2011 for his portrait of Australian artist Margaret Olley.[2] It was his seventh entry to the prize.[3]

In 2009, he won the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, Australia's most lucrative portrait prize, for a painting of Australian musician Jimmy Barnes.[4] His painting Dead (Over the Hills and Far Away) won the National Artists Self Portrait prize in 2007.[5]

Quilty was awarded a Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship in 2002.[1]

Official war artist[edit]

From 11 October until 3 November 2011, Quilty was attached to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) observing their activities in Kabul, Kandahar and Tarin Kowt. His task was to record and interpret the experiences of Australian service personnel who are deployed as part of Operation Slipper. After his return, Quilty spent six months producing work for the Australian War Memorial's National Collection. Such work is in the tradition of war artists that began in World War I with artists Arthur Streeton, George Lambert and Frederick McCubbin.[6][7] Quilty's experiences as a war artist and the work he produced as a result of it was explored in the ABC TV's Australian Story program "War Paint" screened on 3 September 2012.[8]

Honours and Awards[edit]


  1. ^ a b Low, Lenny Ann (17 March 2007). "The hot seat: Ben Quilty". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  2. ^ Westwood, Matthew (16 April 2011), "Margaret Olley leaves her hat on for Ben Quilty's win", The Australian, retrieved 16 April 2011 
  3. ^ "Robertson artist's Archibald entry". ABC Illawarra. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "Ben Quilty portrait of Jimmy Barnes wins $150,000 Moran prize". The Australian. 10 March 2009. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "First self portrait prize handed out". ABC Local. 20 October 2007. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  6. ^ "Ben Quilty Official War Artist" (Press release). Canberra: Australian War Memorial. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  7. ^ Hawley, Janet (4 February 2012). "Tour of Duty". Good Weekend in The Sydney Morning Herald: 13, 14–15, 17. 
  8. ^ Transcript of "War Paint", Quilty's "Australian Story" on ABC television

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Sam Leach
Archibald Prize
for Margaret Olley
Succeeded by
Tim Storrier