Congratulations to Tianzheng (Day) Dang, in Year 9 at Brisbane State High, on being a finalist in the prestigious Lester Prize Youth competition.

The Lester Prize Youth Awards is a portrait competition based in Western Australia open to students in years 7 – 12 across Australia.

Formally known as the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture, this award is now in its fifteenth year. A total prize pool of $6,000 is up for grabs across three age group categories thanks to the generosity of Oxlades Art Supplies Perth, the Valuing Children Initiative and Lions Club City of Perth.

More than 150 young and aspiring artists entered the portrait prize this year.  Tianzheng was one of only 30 High School-aged children from around Australia to be chosen as a finalist. These young and aspiring artists were invited to submit portraits of an Australian, or Australians, that they respect or admire, or a self-portrait. 

Winners and runners-up will receive cash, gift vouchers and art supplies to help them further their art practice. Schools can also win half or full-day workshops valued at $1,500 with an award-winning professional artist.

 Craig Soulsby, a professional artist based in Perth and three-time finalist of The Lester Prize main award, said:

 “The submitted work for this year’s Lester Youth Prize showcased a profound breadth of experience and style. Though the portrait submissions from our nation’s youth were varied, a common and heart-warming thread united them; sincerity, honesty, and hope. The selection process felt streamlined and intuitive, yet challenging at times because of the quality of this year’s submissions.” 

The Youth finalist works will be on display at Brookfield Place’s Tower 2, 123-125 St Georges Terrace Perth from 18 October – 12 November 2021 as part of The Lester Prize Youth Awards Exhibition, with the winners announced on 27 October 2021. 

To view the finalists, visit

Cover image: Tianzheng (Day) Dang and his portrait.