Tony Costa has been awarded the 2019 Archibald Prize for his portrait of contemporary Australian artist and Zen Buddhist Lindy Lee, the Art Gallery of NSW announced today, with the Sir John Sulman Prize going to McLean Edwards and the Wynne Prize going to Sylvia Ken.

Lindy Lee Tony Costa’s  Lindy Lee. Photo © Art Gallery of NSW

“I’m absolutely overwhelmed, honoured and thrilled,” Costa said of the win. “I am very aware of all those who have come before me as Archibald Prize winners and I am humbled, to say the least. What matters to me is not visual accuracy but feelings above all else. In a nutshell, that’s what I do.”

“The work is clearly the product of close and sympathetic observation by Tony. Its strong, expressive painterliness and minimal palette project a sense of calm and repose, reflective of Lindy Lee’s Zen Buddhist practice,” Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand said.

Board president David Gonski said it wasn’t easy to decide on a winner. “There was a lively and thoughtful debate, but in the end the judges were unanimous in their choices,” he said.

Costa was inspired when he listened to an interview...