Nudes gone, but well loved in Benalla

Benalla Art Gallery acting artistic director Shanley Cleeland and the Benalla Nude Art Prize people's choice award winner - Nude #1 by Charlie Tong. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

Benalla Art Gallery acting artistic director Shanley Cleeland and the Benalla Nude Art Prize people's choice award winner - Nude #1 by Charlie Tong. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

THE walls are being stripped and the Benalla Nude exhibition is closed.

And organisers say they can’t fault the three-month show of 32 art works.

Artist Ivan Durrant said this would not be the end of the art prize and expected it to return in 2016.

“At this stage it might be bi-annual but I am sure it will become a yearly thing,” he said.

“It will certainly happen again.”

Durrant said the prize enticed thousands of people to the city.

“A businessman told me it was the best thing that happened to Benalla in 20 years,” he said.

“It has put the town on the map and the people of Benalla love art so much and are always willing to support gigs.”

The prize wrapped up with artist Charlie Tong winning the people’s choice award for his work, Nude #1.

Gallery acting artistic director Shanley Cleeland said his painting of a female figure from behind, left the meaning up to the audience.

“There is a sense of mystery about the woman because her face is hidden,” she said.

Benalla Rural Council last week decided to reserve $20,000 of the profit made from this year’s exhibition for prize money in the next competition.

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