Milsom won the $100,000 prize for his portrait of barrister Charles Waterstreet, titled Judo house pt 6 (the white bird). Milsom forged a bond with Waterstreet who represented him in court in 2012. Waterstreet is the co-creator of the ABC TV series Rake, which is loosely based on his professional and personal life.
The Archibald Prize is awarded annually to the best portrait, 'preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia’.
Dean of UNSW Art & Design, Professor Ross Harley said "We are thrilled for Nigel. The Archibald brings contemporary art into living rooms across the country and is one of the most high profile cultural awards made annually. Over the past 3 sucessive years, UNSW Art & Design students and alumni have been recognised by winning the Archibald Prize and we congratulate each of the finalists and participants in these prestigious exhibitions."
Other UNSW A&D alumni who were selected as finalists for the 2015 Archibald Prize include; Tony Costa, Filippa Buttita, Tony Curran, Tim Gregory, Nigel Milsom, and Shaun Gladwell.
The $40,000 Sulman is awarded to the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project by an Australian artist. Phu had the honour of being a finalist in both the Archibald and the Sulman Prizes.
Phu’s bold ink works explore his heritage as a Chinese-Australian born to parents who lived through the Cultural Revolution and Vietnam War. His Sulman piece, I was at yum cha when in rolled the three severed heads of Buddha: Fear, Malice and Death, flips the peaceful, calming symbology of Buddha into something “quirky, stupid and hateful” and contrasts it with yum cha, which he describes as a quintessentially Australian rite. More.
Alumni Jasper Knight, Noel McKenna, Stephen Ormandy and post graduate student and 2014 Archibald winner Fiona Lowry were also finalists in The Sulman Prize.
Master of Fine Arts graduate Viola Dominello was a finalist in the Wynne Prize and was awarded the John & Elizabeth Newham Pring Memorial Prize for the best watercolour by a woman artist.
The Wynne Prize finalists included A&D graduates Celia Morgan, Louis Pratt, Aida Tomescu and Karl de Waal.
The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize finalists’ exhibition is on at the Art Gallery of New South Wales 18 July – 27 September, 2015.