7 July, 2023
Local artists clean up at Dunedoo’s Art Unlimited
Gilgandra has cleaned up at this years’ Art Unlimited event, with a major prize and high commended received by two local artists.
Chris Kunko took out the Peabody Wilpinjong
Hanging Art Prize for his piece ‘Brett at Sunrise in the
This major prize was judged by Kent Buchanan, curator at the Western Plains Cultural Centre. Mr Buchanan explained Mr Kunko’s “use of impasto builds depth that correlates with the depth of character he has captured in his portrait of Brett”.
“The use of colour and energy in the work helps the
eye move around the picture plane, only to settle on the
calm state of the subject.”
The painting of ‘Brett at Sunrise in the
Warrumbungles’ depicts Brett Anderson, a businessman
who Mr Kunko describes as having a “pre-occupation as
a beneficiary of the arts in the region, interested in
artists careers and utilising their practices as a way of
telling local historical stories through street art and
“Brett commissioned me in 2022 to paint him on a
large canvas with oil paint, larger than life and loaded
with colour. This was a fantastic opportunity for me,”
said Mr Kunko.
When painting Brett, Mr Kunko made 15 ink studies,
and took photos on his phone for reference during
two sittings with him, in order to capture his “extralarge
presence and calmness”.
“I had the idea of using
the Warrumbungle landscape in this work as it is such a
peaceful landscape to visit and resembles a fascinating
power and energy from those volcanic times,” explained
“When it came down to painting the work, I had a
deadline of about a week before the skin of the paint
begins to dry. Not much was going through my mind
while painting Brett, just positive thoughts. Pretty much
just eat, sleep, paint, repeat!”
Being acknowledged for your work is always humbling
and exciting, and Mr Kunko is extremely grateful.
“The confidence boost to continue my practice is the
best feeling. To take my work into a capital city or
coastal gallery again is the goal, while still being true to
my location and help as an example for people to work
hard on their dreams to make a living from being great
at what they do.”
This year’s Art Unlimited wasn’t Mr Kunko’s first
stint either. First entering the competition in 2016, and
then again in 2020, Mr Kunko received a highly commended
for a painting that was previously exhibited in a
solo show ‘Thinking of an Old Friend’ at Maitland
Regional Gallery NSW in 2020.
Local artist Melissa Kelly also took out a highly commended for the ACEN Australia Ceramics Prize at this year’s Dunedoo Art Unlimited, for her piece ‘Rabbit Woman I and II’.