Organizers of Tasmania’s prestigious Glover Art Prize have defended the Hanger’s Choice Award winner against accusations that she broke a key entry rule.

Artist Cynthia Orr’s acrylic and pen artwork, Our House, won the 2022 Hanger’s Choice Award, worth $500.

The grand winner of the $50,000 art prize, Wanderings of the Past and Now by Victorian artist Jennifer Riddle, was announced last Friday.

But since then, the Glover Prize social media page has erupted over whether the winner of Ms Orr’s Hanger’s Choice was indeed based on a Tasmanian landscape – a key entry requirement.

Some have argued that it instead depicts Ms Orr’s hometown of Albany in Western Australia.

Comments on social media said the painting looked like the town of Albany.(ABC News: Ellie Honeybone)

One commenter, Judy Lawrence, wrote: “It looks suspiciously like a painting of Albany, Western Australia, where Cynthia lives.

“The park next to the town hall and the library building. The pines at Middleton Beach, Mts Adelaide and Melville. I lived there for 25 years. I’d be interested to know where in Tassie it’s supposed to be.”

A beach with a gtree in the
Middleton Beach in Albany.(ABC News: Ellie Honeybone)

Susan Margaret Morice wrote, “Tasmanian landscape … I think not!”.

Ms Orr has been contacted for comment, but on her Facebook page on Friday she said that the painting depicted memories of when she travelled around Tasmania with her family, many years ago.

“With the incredible countryside, scenic oceans, mountains and especially the steep streets and historic homes of Hobart. Even the weather felt familiar. There was such a connection to my own surroundings, as if the two places were one and the same. ‘a. I fell in love.”

A spokesperson for the Glover Art Prize, curator Megan Dick, said Cynthia’s work was a memento of her memories of Tasmania.

“As she also hasn’t been able to visit recently, she Googled photos of Tasmania for her work and relied on those images to confirm the painting,” she said.

“Place” can be represented by structures or ideas, realistic interpretations or abstractions. The “landscape” can be a seascape, a psychological landscape, an aerial view or a narrative, a story told.

“Cynthia was inspired by how she remembers feeling about Tasmania.”

Another Glover finalist slammed

Another finalist, A chilly Late Afternoon at Bellerive Beach by Suzanne Roberts, also raised eyebrows.

Although it does not break any prize rules, it bears a particular resemblance to a photograph taken by Hobart woman Nathalia Secco as she walked her dog one morning last August.

A man walks his dog along a beach with a snow capped mountain in the background
This is the photograph taken by Nathalia Secco.(Provided: Nathalia Secco)
A painting of a man and his dog walking on the beach with a snow capped mountain in the background
This is the painting A Chilly Late Afternoon on Bellerive Beach by Suzanne Robert.(Provided: Glover Prize)

Artists painting from photos are not unusual, but Ms Secco said she was upset that Ms Roberts had not discussed the use of the image with her.

She contacted the organizers of the award, hoping to be put in touch with Ms Roberts.

“It was a surprise,” Ms. Secco said.

“If someone contacted me saying, ‘Look, I want to paint this picture,’ I would never say no.

Ms Dick said the organizers of the Glover Prize believe the two artists “acted in good faith with their submissions to the Glover Art Prize”.

“The Glover Art Prize supports and encourages artists in their creative endeavors and aims to present an exhibition enjoyed by all,” she said.

The ABC has contacted the award organizers with a request to speak to Ms Roberts.


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