Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

Archie 100 – A Century of the Archibald Prize

Fri 27 May 2022 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 9:00 am on Saturday, repeating until Sun June 12, 2022

An event every week that begins at 9:00 am on Sunday, repeating until Sun June 12, 2022

An event every week that begins at 9:00 am on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, repeating until Sun June 12, 2022

Archie 100 – A Century of the Archibald Prize at Cairns Art Gallery

Event by Cairns Art Gallery.


2021 marks the one-hundred-year anniversary of Australia’s oldest and most-loved portrait award, The Archibald Prize. Often controversial, The Archibald Prize continues to enthral and amuse, inspire and bemuse audiences from around Australia and overseas. It is unequivocally the most coveted art award for contemporary Australian portrait artists.


Archie 100: A Century of The Archibald Prize brings together more than one hundred artworks selected from every decade of The Archibald Prize exhibition and unearths many of the fascinating stories behind them.


Grouped thematically, the exhibition reflects how artistic styles and approaches to portraiture have changed over time, and how our perceptions of ‘the face of our nation’ have changed and evolved over the past one hundred years. Since 1921, the prize has attracted entries from both prominent and emerging artists in Australia and New Zealand, and featured people from all walks of life, from famous faces to local heroes.Through the eyes of some of Australia’s most famous artists we come face-to-face with iconic figures from our past including John Brack’s 1969 portrait of Dame Edna Everage, and Wes Walter’s 1983 portrait of Ian (Molly) Meldrum. Walter’s portrait captured Molly in his characteristic mid-sentence ‘um’ moment while hosting the iconic music show Countdown. Wearing his trademark Stetson hat and boots Meldrum is framed against a mural of a desert landscape in his Egyptian-themed home in Richmond. During a 1983 Countdown episode filmed in his living room, Meldrum presented a segment seated in the same pose before the same mural. When interviewed about the portrait, Meldrum quipped that the artist should have received another award for managing to get him to sit still and remain silent for long enough to complete the portrait. He went on to say that while he sat and posed Walters ‘did a lot of talking and he was really one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.’ Subsequently, English music legend Sir Elton John purchased the portrait and gifted it to his friend Meldrum who hung it in his lounge room.


Archie 100 is the result of many years of research and searching for lost portraits. It includes portraits from the Art Gallery of NSW’s Collection as well as works from libraries, galleries and museums across Australia and New Zealand, and from private Australian and international collections, a number of which have never been seen since being exhibited in The Archibald Prize.


Exhibition Dates: 19th March till 12th June 2022


Cost: FREE Entry


Be amongst the first guests to visit the Archie 100 – Free timed-entry tickets available to book now for the opening weekend – Book Now


Purchase – Exhibition Catalogue – Order Online


Artist & Curator Talk with Natalie Wilson & Ian Smith – 19th March 11.30am


Archie After Hours – Exhibition Talk with Natalie Wilson & Ian Smith – 19th March at 5.30pm


Archie 100 – Guided Tour – 1 Hour Free Tour every Thursday at 10.30am and 1.30pm – from 24th March till 9th June.



Cairns Art Gallery visitors to Archie 100 have an exclusive chance to win a $2000 store credit from Archie 100 Supporting Partner Oroton. Visit the Gallery during the exhibition and scan the QR Code to enter. Terms and Conditions


Note: This display includes works that are protected under the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013. More information

Government regulations in regards to COVID are in place: At this time, this includes the requirement for all guests to show proof of vaccination, check-in on arrival and wear a mask while inside the building.




Fri 27 May 2022
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Cairns Art Gallery
07 4046 4800
View Organiser Website


Cairns Art Gallery
40 Abbott St
Cairns, Queensland 4870 Australia
+ Google Map