This year’s Packing Room Prize has been awarded to Matt Adnate, a Northern Rivers artist who’s entered the Archibald Prize for the second time. His winning portrait is of Yolŋu rapper, dancer, artist and actor Baker Boy, called Rhythms of heritage.

Adnate, whose painting of former Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns was a striking submission last year, says he is “absolutely stoked” to win.

“I have always been inspired by music as it can help me channel and evoke strong emotion into my work,” he says. “It gives me the energy to keep painting, from canvases in my studio to large-scale murals. I’m in awe of artists like Baker Boy who have the power to use music to transform people’s mood, mind and energy.”

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The Baker Boy portrait was mostly produced with spray paint – a medium the artist says allows him the most control. “I learned to paint through doing graffiti letters as a teenager; I switched to portraiture in 2010 … To win the Packing Room Prize with a portrait that is so significant to me, and to be the first street artist to do so, it really pushes me further.”

Adnate’s win includes a $3000 cash prize. It’s one of 57 finalists chosen for the Archibald Prize, which received more than 1000 entries this year.

Baker Boy has congratulated Adnate. “It’s unreal to see how he captures me as I am today, reflecting my love for music and a deep connection to my home of Arnhem Land, seen through the soulful reflection in the eyes.”

It’s the 33rd year of the Packing Room Prize – a tradition that dates back to the early ’90s. Staff who receive and unload portraits for the Archibald Prize select a work they love the most. Historically, head packer Brett Cuthbertson had the majority vote. He retired in 2022. This year’s selectors were Timothy Dale, Monica Rudhar and Alexis Wildman, in consultation with their colleagues.

The finalists for the 2024 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes were also revealed at the Art Gallery of NSW. Famous faces include Missy Higgins, fashion designer Jordan Gogos, Heartbreak High actors Will McDonald, Chloé Hayden and Josh Heuston, and Katie-Louise and Lilian Nicol-Ford from Nicol & Ford.

Artists who have submitted works across all three prizes include Zaachariaha Fielding, Noel McKenna, Thom Roberts, Guan Wei, Billy Bain, Polly Borland, Julia Gutman, Vincent Namatjira, Thea Anamara Perkins, Jason Phu, Tiger Yaltangki, Louise Zhang and Shaun Gladwell.

The Wynne Prize – the award given for the best landscape painting of Australian scenery or figure sculpture – will have 21 works by Aboriginal artists this year. It’s the first time there are more works by Aboriginal artists than non-Aboriginal artists in the prize’s history.

The winners of the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes will be announced on Friday June 7.

The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2024 exhibition runs from June 8 to September 8 at the Art Gallery of NSW. It’ll then tour to Orange Regional Gallery, Ngununggula, Casula Powerhouse, Araluen Arts Centre, Northern Territory and Lismore Regional Gallery.

Broadsheet is running a private after-hours viewing of the Archibald exhibition on June 25. Tickets are available now.

artgallery.nsw.gov.au