Artist a chance for prestigious award

Holly ThompsonManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Lori Pensini stands with her art, which has been selected for the Lester Prize.
Camera IconLori Pensini stands with her art, which has been selected for the Lester Prize. Credit: Holly Thompson

Boyup Brook artist Lori Pensini has been nominated as a finalist in this year’s Lester Prize, for her work depicting an unlikely love story between two of her ancestors.

The artwork, titled Banksia grandis, love begets love, was one of more than 400 pieces entered into the competition.

As one of the 40 finalist pieces, Ms Pensini’s piece will be on display at the Art Gallery of WA from November 9 till December 9.

It is now her fourth year as a finalist in the competition and Ms Pensini said it would be difficult to send the work off to the gallery, as the piece was very personal and something she had become attached too.

“The piece is a family love story of my great uncle and an indigenous woman, Mary, they legally married and went on to have 12 children,” she said.

“In those times, Mary was an outcast and barley considered human and so for the two of them to legitimise their relationship was rare and something that as an ancestor, I am quite proud of.”

She said she had used her son Mitch as the sitter for the portrait of her great uncle, to represent the family lineage and had drawn Mary based off several photographs.

“Although these portraits are both slightly fictitious compared to how the subjects really looked, I have become rather attached to these paintings and they feel very real to me,” Ms Pensini said.

The winner of the $50,000 Lester Prize, previously known as the Black Swan Prize, will be announced on November 8.

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