The Lester Prize 2020

Design / Life

The Lester Prize is celebrating its fourteenth anniversary in 2020 and its fifth year at the Art Gallery of WA.

The Lester Prize is one of the nation’s most recognised and prestigious fine art prizes. The prize pool available to professional, emerging and young artists is now worth almost $85,000, including the main prize of $50,000.

This year’s forty finalists were chosen from 750 entries received from artists across Australia. Twelve finalists are from WA, eight from NSW, seven from VIC, five from SA, three each from QLD and TAS, and one each from the ACT and NT. Sixteen of the finalists have been named as finalists in previous years of the competition.

This year’s Main Awards Panel comprises of Western Australian artist Abdul-Rahman Abdullah; AGWA Associate Curator, Projects Rachel Ciesla; Alan R Dodge AM; Perth based curators Gemma Weston and Laetitia Wilson.

The finalists’ artworks are on display in the Centenary Galleries at AGWA from 31 October to 29 November 2020.

The winners were announced on 30 October at the Main Awards Night at AGWA. The Richard Lester Prize for Portraiture 2020 winner was Serena Cowie for her work titled The conversation.

This year’s prize pool consists of:

  • The Richard Lester Prize for Portraiture (selected by a panel of judges) | $50,000 – Artist Serena Cowie (VIC) with her portrait The conversation
  • Tony Fini Foundation Artist Prize (selected by artists’ peers) | $10,000 cash – Sebastian Galloway Warm air, cool light.
  • Minderoo Foundation Spirit Prize | $10,000 cash – Stacey Evangelou Warrior by spirit.
  • Baldock Family People’s Choice Prize (selected by the general public) | $10,000 cash – to be announced at the close of the exhibition
  • Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize | $5,000 cash – Kierah Falkner Babbel Race car ya ya.
  • Highly Commended x 2 (selected by a panel of judges) | $1,000 cash, $550 domestic art transport voucher, $500 framing voucher plus $250 art supplies voucher each – Daevid Anderson The dying slave – study and Joshua Cocking Making plants – a portrait of Franque.

For more information please visit


Artist Talks | FREE
Hear from some of The Lester Prize 2020 finalists for an insight into their portraiture works.

12-12-30pm, Thursday 12 November
Jill Ansell | Craig Soulsby

11-11.30am, Friday 13 November
Zoë Sydney | Wade Taylor

11-11.30am, Friday 27 November
Jill Ansell | Wade Taylor

Guided Tours | FREE
12-1pm, Wednesdays
11am-12pm, Thursdays
1-2pm, Saturdays & Sundays 

Join AGWA’s Voluntary Gallery Guides on a guided tour of portraiture works from across Australia.

AGWA Perth Cultural Centre PERTH WA
+61 8 9492 6600 | 10am-5pm, Wed — Mon