Ben Quilty (b.1973, Sydney) lives and works in the Southern Highlands of NSW. He was a finalist in the prestigious Wynne and Archibald prizes and won the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize in 2009 and the Archibald Prize in 2011. Quilty’s work is represented in major public, corporate and private collections in Australia.
Ben Quilty / Photograph: Daniel Boud
In 2011 Quilty travelled to Afghanistan as an official war artist with The Australian War Memorial. He spent three weeks on the frontline talking to and documenting the experiences of Australian Defence Force personnel participating in Operation Slipper. His works from this series powerfully portray the complexity and breadth of military experiences.
Ben Quilty / Captain Kate Porter, after Afghanistan 2012 / Gift of the artist through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation 2018. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Ben Quilty
Greece, Serbia and Lebanon
Quilty was invited by World Vision Australia to travel to Greece, Serbia and Lebanon with author, Richard Flanagan. The exhibitions includes works inspired by him witnessing firsthand the international refugee crisis in 2016.
Ben Quilty / The blue pill (explain the world) 2016, Southern Highlands, New South Wales / Private Collection, Adelaide / © Ben Quilty
As well as including portraits the artist has done of his friends and family, to coincide with this exhibition, the Gallery’s Children’s Art Centre has worked with Ben Quilty to develop a project that encourages children to explore the art of portraiture through hands-on and multimedia activities (but adults can join in too!).
Ben Quilty and his son Joe, in Ben's studio, 2019
Quilty and Olley
Also showing at GOMA at the same time is 'Margaret Olley: A Generous Life' which examines the legacy and influence of the much-loved artist who spent a formative part of her career in Brisbane. Quilty met legendary Australian painter Margaret Olley when she was a guest judge for the 2002 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship, which he won. And, in 2011 Olley sat for a portrait by Quilty which won the Archibald Prize in 2011. You can see this portrait in the Olley exhibition (and below).
Portrait of Margaret Olley and Ben Quilty, 2005 / Image courtesy: Steven Bacon, Fairfax syndication
Ben Quilty, Australia, b.1973 / The Last Supper no.9 2017 / Oil on linen / 265 x 202 cm / Collection: The Michael and Janet Buxton Collection / © The artist / Courtesy: The artist.