Celebrated Chinese born Australian painter Jiawei Shen from Bundeena NSW has won the $20 000 2016 Gallipoli Art Prize with his painting Yeah, Mate! ’ depicting an Australian soldier at Gallipoli carrying his wounded comrade.

Jiawei Shen’s winning work is based on an iconic Gallipoli photograph which is kept in the Imperial War Museum in London with a caption that reads ‘At ANZAC Cove, an Australian bringing in a wounded comrade to hospital. The men were cracking jokes as they made their way down from the front.’

Jiawei Shen said  “I joined the Australian nation from 1989 and got Australian citizenship in 1998. I share the memories of Gallipoli with every member of our nation, and am in tears when listening to Waltzing Matilda. As a professional history painter during the days of the 100th anniversary of the battle of Gallipoli, I painted this painting, to do my duty.”

Jiawei Shen was born in Shanghai in 1948. Largely self-taught he became a well-known artist in China in mid 1970s, during the Cultural Revolution era. He moved to Australia from China in 1989 and for the first two years had to support himself financially by drawing portrait sketches for tourists at Darling Harbour. Since then he has completed many accomplished portrait commissions in Australia and overseas. He has three works in National Portrait Gallery including a portrait of the Crown Princess Mary of Demark, and two in Parliament House including a portrait of Prime Minister John Howard. In China, he has fifteen works in the collections of the National Museum, the National Art Museum, and the National Military Museum. His portrait of the Pope Frances is in the Vatican art collection. Jiawei’s paintings have been selected for the Archibald exhibition fourteen times and was runner-up in 1997. He won the People’s Choice Prize twice (2003, 2007) in the Salon des Refuse and won the Sulman Prize in 2006

“Shen is a history painter who was trained in the traditional atelier model and is a champion of skills and techniques that are gradually being eroded from contemporary art training and practice,” said Jane Watters (Director, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney) on behalf of the Gallipoli Art Prize judges “His winning painting is heroic in the very best sense without descending into the schmultz depictions of mateship and sacrifice so prevalent in other genres.”


Jiawei Shen – High res photos, artist statement, biography, CV
Photos of all works and 2016 catalogue
Media Release as Word Doc