Top prize awarded for work with ‘originality, inventiveness and wit’

A wild, psychedelic portrait titled Worm as Chameleon has taken out the top award at the RACT Insurance Tasmanian Portraiture Prize (TPP).

Judges Angus Trumble, Betty Nolan and Caleb Clifford awarded Laura Gillam, of Hobart, the honour for her piece capturing her friend 'Worm'.

"To me, she is a rebel girl, a strong, fearless woman with a badass attitude," Ms Gillam said in her artist's statement about the work.

TPP Judge and Director of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia Angus Trumble said he was drawn to the meaning behind Ms Gillam's piece.

"All of us felt that the winning work was painted beautifully and carried a great deal of conviction," Mr Trumble said.

"It is a genuine portrait of a friend with incredible originality, inventiveness and wit."

Two runners-up have been announced – Hobart's Dexter Rosengrave for Wrestle/Self Portrait and Liam James for Portrait of a Younger Man. The Packer's Prize, chosen by the amazing team responsible for presenting the TPP, was awarded to Devonport-based Rachel Kumar for her work A Lesson in Patience.

Portrait of a Younger Man, Liam JamesWrestle/Self Portrait, Dexter Rosengrave 

Their work will hang alongside the other finalists at the TPP Exhibition in the Long Gallery in Hobart from 2-17 September, Sawtooth ARI in Launceston from 7-21 October, and the Devonport Regional Gallery from 28 October - 3 December 2017. All works are also available for purchase during the exhibition.

2017 marks the 10th anniversary of Tasmania's most prestigious portraiture prize for artists aged 30 and under, with many young creatives identifying the awards as a kickstarter to a successful career in the arts.

A Lesson in Patience, Rachel KumarThis year a record of more than 100 entries were received from around the state across a broad range of mediums, with almost two-thirds of works submitted by female Tasmanian artists.

RACT Insurance CEO Trent Sayers said the TPP has become an invaluable platform for young Tasmanian artists during the past 10 years.

"On behalf of RACT Insurance I would like to reiterate how privileged we are to be associated with the Tasmanian Portraiture Prize and its contribution to art and creativity in Tasmania," Mr Sayers said.

"As the only Tasmanian-based insurance company, we endeavour to support important local initiatives such as the Tasmanian Portraiture Prize and would like to acknowledge all of the talented artists who participated in this year's competition."

Laura Gillam will receive $5000 in prize money, a sculpture made by Tasmanian artist Richard Martin, as well as a trip for two to the Archibald Prize exhibition in Sydney, while runners up Liam James and Dexter Rosengrave will receive $2000 to assist with studio rent. Rachel Kumar will receive $500 towards their future artistic endeavours.