Art Sets.

Wynne Prize 2017 education resource

By the Art Gallery of NSW

The Wynne Prize is awarded to the best landscape painting of Australian scenery or figure sculpture and is judged by the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW. This year they chose Antara by Betty Kuntiwa Pumani.

Especially designed for school students, this education resource presents ideas for thinking about and making art inspired by some chosen finalists.

For more information and the artist statement, click on an image and view the work in the Art Gallery of NSW prizes database.


This landscape painting by Betty Kuntiwa Pumani won the 2017 Wynne Prize. The artist has included elements that are found at a place called Antara in South Australia. Betty Kuntiwa Pumani says of this place “Antara is my mother’s country. She taught me the stories, and showed me the places, like one special rockhole where women would have inma (ceremony). Now I remember her when I paint Antara.”

Things to think about and make

Name the different colours the artist has used to create this painting. Is there a colour you like most?

Look closely and describe the shapes and patterns you can see. Where do you think the artist began painting first? How did she apply the paint? Talk about how the artist has used colour and pattern to create an idea of energy.

Paint a picture of a place you know well. Choose colours and patterns which express your feelings about this place.


Regina Pilawuk Wilson’s painting is inspired by Shaw, a woven mat that relates to the life-giving nature of the sun. The mat is made from the pandanus that grows along the banks of the river where the artist lives. The pandanus casts shadows and creates reflections on the surface of the water.

Things to think about and make

Look closely at the lines in this work. What do you notice about the patterns they form?

What shapes, colours or lines in this painting remind you of the sun, the flowing river and the shadows of the pandanas growing by the river? What other aspects in the landscape are you reminded of when you look at these shapes?

Find some objects in the natural environment such as leaves, bark and rocks. Make pencil rubbings of these objects and collage them to create a pattern of that environment.


In her art, Juz Kitson plays with representations and ideas of human and animal existence. She has combined many man-made and natural materials in her works.

Things to think about and make

Look carefully at this installation and make a list of the materials the artist has used. What shapes or objects do you recognise?

What does this work remind you of? How does it make you feel? Imagine if this artwork was a magical costume. What type of magic could the wearer make?

Create a headdress or cape for a magician from found materials. Take photos of yourself or someone else wearing it.


Guan Wei was born in China and now lives in Australia. In this artwork he has included some images from his Chinese heritage and others from his life in Australia. He has presented the images as if they are within an antique mirror.

Things to think about and make

What images has the artist included that look like they come from traditional Chinese textiles or porcelain? What images has he included to represent life in Australia?

What do you see in the two top corners? What do you think these figures symbolise?

Imagine you are creating a special plate for your family. In a circle, design a pattern that would represent your cultural heritage. Use appropriate colours and images to enhance your design.


Noel McKenna has painted this scene from his imagination. It is a house in Far North Queensland and he has included things in the painting that he knows are in that part of Australia.

Things to think about and make

Look at the sky in the painting. What do you notice about the weather?

Do you think the people who live in this house are gardeners? Give a reason for your response.

How would you describe the environment around the house? What do you think might be under the house where it is dark? How would it feel there?

Compare this painting to Robyn Sweaney's painting in the 2017 Wynne Prize. What is similar? What is different?

Develop a series of watercolour paintings based on homes in your neighbourhood. Consider the objects you include around each building to communicate who might live there.


John R Walker has used six sheets of paper to create this artwork. His marks dance and move across the surface, suggesting parts of the landscape such as a creek bed.

Things to think about and make

What can you find in this image that suggests parts of the natural landscape? Look closely at different parts of this artwork. How has the artist made the different marks and lines?
What can you find in this image that suggests litter in the creek bed, such as old fencing wire?

How do you think it would feel to walk through this landscape? Why do you think that?

Look at a section of natural landscape in your local area and make a pencil drawing of it using only a few lines to suggest objects such as trees and the surface of the land.

Using the natural landscape as inspiration, make a drawing with ink. Apply the ink using a twig or leaf that you have found in the landscape.