Archibald Prize 2021 portraits touring Hazelhurst Gallery Gymea

The Archibald Prize 2021, Australia's oldest and most recognised art award is coming to Sutherland Shire.

A collection of 52 artworks will be on display at Hazelhurst Gallery from December 4.

It gives those who missed the exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW earlier this year, the chance to see it at Gymea this summer.

Since its inception in 1921, the Archibald Prize has never failed to draw interest, attention and debate.

Rewarded to the best portrait painting, the Archibald is a who's who of Australian culture - from politicians to celebrities, sporting heroes to artists.

In establishing the prize, JF Archibald's aim was to foster portraiture, support artists and perpetuate the memory of great Australians.

This year, 938 entries were received and judged by the Trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW.

From these, 52 finalists were selected, and for the first time in the prize's history there was gender parity among finalists.

With 2021 marking the 100th anniversary of the Archibald, it was fitting that Peter Wegner was the winner, receiving $100,000 for his painting Guy Warren in his 100th year.

Hazelhurst will receive artworks including the winning portrait, the ANZ People's Choice winner, Julia Ciccarone's self-portrait The sea within, and the Packing Room Prize winner, Kathrin Longhurst's portrait of singer and songwriter Kate Cebrano.

Other significant works include Julian Meagher's portrait of Australian retired soccer player and human rights activist Craig Foster, and Sally Ross' self-portrait.

Sutherland mayor Steve Simpson welcomed the significant art prize to the shire.

"It is testament to the high calibre of artists and exhibitions we attract and host at Hazelhurst Arts Centre and confirms our dedication to supporting arts and culture in this area," he said.

Hazelhurst Director Belinda Hanrahan said while the Archibald Prize was scheduled to be on display at the Art Gallery of NSW from June to September this year, the most recent Sydney lockdown meant that many people missed seeing it.

"We are thrilled to give audiences across Sydney a second opportunity see the Archibald Prize 2021 at Hazelhurst," she said.

Admission is free. The exhibition ends January 16.

There is also a special event at the gallery on December 10 at 6-9pm. The evening will include live portrait demonstrations by leading portrait artist Jaiwei Shen.

There will also be the opportunity to join a tour of the exhibition, participate in art making activities including collage portraits and mask making inspired by works in the Archibald Prize 2021, and enjoy the cafe and live music in the gardens.

The gallery will also run a Young Archie competition inviting budding young artists aged five to 18 from St George and Sutherland Shire to submit a portrait, with the opportunity to be displayed alongside the Archibald Prize 2021.

The gallery is open 10am-4pm daily.