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2016 Bald Archy art exhibition opens in Canberra

From Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull depicted as the statue David with a naked Queen Elizabeth II clinging to his leg to Bronwyn Bishop catching a bus, this year's Bald Archy's Prize has yet again delivered what audiences have come to expect. 

The annual exhibition has been described as the irreverent alternative to the Archibald Prize and Australia's most audacious comic art prize and showcases comical and satirical images of well known Australians. 

Founding creator of the Bald Archy Prize, Peter Batey, with two of his favourite entries: "The Break Up" by James ...
Founding creator of the Bald Archy Prize, Peter Batey, with two of his favourite entries: "The Break Up" by James Brennan, left, and "Love a Bus" by Ed McMahon. Photo: Graham Tidy

This year's exhibition, which opened in Canberra on Friday, features 44 entries, including three from the ACT, in what has been described by director and founder Peter Batey​ as "one of the best years ever". 

The Bald Archy Prize began in 1994 when Mr Batey held an arts festival in his home town Coolac. 

Artist Stephen Lynch's entry, "The X Man", depicting Senator Nick Xenophon.
Artist Stephen Lynch's entry, "The X Man", depicting Senator Nick Xenophon. Photo: Graham Tidy

The exhibition will tour through the ACT, New South Wales and Queensland, with the winner announced in July. 

Among the artworks in this year's exhibition is one from Canberra artist Ingrid Jaugietis​, who took her inspiration from Bronwyn Bishop's helicopter scandal. Her work is titled Let Them Eat Cake! 

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"The thing that Bronwyn is well known for is that immaculate bouffant hair style so I emphasised that," she said.

"I began thinking that her extravagant way of travelling with the helicopter was akin to Marie Antoinette and the masses.

Artist Phillipa Carmody's entry "When You Wish Upon a Star", depicting Rupert Murdoch, Jerry Hall and Donald Trump.
Artist Phillipa Carmody's entry "When You Wish Upon a Star", depicting Rupert Murdoch, Jerry Hall and Donald Trump.  Photo: Graham Tidy

"I put white gloves on Bronwyn and put a queen bee on her head in reference to her position in the House of Representatives.

"I wanted to imply that she thought she was above everyone else."

Jaugietis said what she liked about the Bald Archys was that "you can have a bit of fun with it and it doesn't take itself too seriously". 

Artist Phillipa Carmody's entry Wish Upon a Star is of Rupert Murdoch, Jerry Hall and Donald Trump, the artwork portraying the two-dimensional simplistic lives of the rich and famous.

"I like the comic aspect of it, Donald Trump is such a cartoon like character that it's hard to take him seriously. So I put him at the top as Tinker Bell," she said. 

"I have been dabbling with painting on and off for about ten years. I normally tend to concentrate on realism and portraits. However, this was lots of fun because I haven't done satire before."

But the artworks are not only of politicians and Canberra tennis star Nick Kyrgios is just one of the many other faces to make an appearance in this year's exhibition. 

The exhibition is at the Watson Arts Centre until March 14.