Master strokes on display for young prodigies

At age seven, Gabrielle Guo is already a prize-winning, exhibited artist - in NSW's most venerable institution no less.

Titled 'My little sister Vivienne', the pencil and marker drawing of her cherry gobbling younger sibling - complete with mischievous eyes and juice dribbling down her chin - claimed the Young Archie award in the five-to-eight age category while on show at the Art Gallery of NSW on Saturday.

Gabrielle Guo with her sister Vivienne and winning painting at the Art Gallery of NSW on Saturday.

Gabrielle Guo with her sister Vivienne and winning painting at the Art Gallery of NSW on Saturday. Credit:AAP

"Even though they fight sometimes, they're very, very close," Gabrielle's mother Sharon told the Sun-Herald of the relationship between artist and muse following her elder daughter's win.

"Gabby says Vivienne is very cute but deadly."

Ian Kim, a nine-year-old prodigy from Lidcombe, could only summon one word when he won in the nine to 12 years category for a portrait of his father: "Shocked."

Though guest judge and 2020 Sulman Prize winner Marikit Santiago had a lot to add about his painting, 'My dad's brush'.

"You can’t deny the technical skills for such a young age," she said of the artwork now on display at the gallery at the same time as the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes.

“I thoroughly enjoy judging this competition and am always moved and astounded by the depth of emotion, imagination and skill demonstrated by these budding young artists, who work so hard to capture the character of their subjects."

Ms Santiago, who often collaborates with her children when working creatively, was awarded the this year's Sulman Prize for her work 'The divine', which portrays her three children.

Queensland teen Lily Hobbs, 14, won the 13 to 15 years age category for a portrait of her sister, while 18-year-old James Stibilj, from Wahroonga, won the 16 to 18 years category for a portrait of his sister.

They are among 40 finalists to have their works displayed after responding to a brief to submit a portrait of someone who plays a significant role in their life.

An only child, Ian and his artist father Sam have formed a special bond over painting after joining in on lessons taught by Mr Kim at their home studio.

"His father's like a friend to him," Ian's mother, Okhee, said.

While the painting captures his father's vocation and warming demeanour, Ian said there was a hidden message involved: "There is a secret regarding a brush in my family. It is that my dad has his very own brush on his face: it’s his beard. That brush paints happiness onto me."

"When my dad brushes me with his own brush, I always burst out with so much laughter and cannot help falling off my chair," Ian said in his submission.

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