We wish to congratulate Kangan Institute Visual Art Teacher Thomas Delohery on his shortlisting for the Black Swan Portraiture Prize of 2017. The Black Swan Prize is one of Australia’s richest prizes for Portraiture, bringing together Australia’s top artists for an exhibition and Awards Night on the 10th November. We are extremely proud that Thomas has once again been shortlisted for this prestigious award – a nomination that again recognises him as being one of the best portrait artists in this country.
“I felt joy and huge relief at getting nominated. Not just for me but for my wife Sandra as she had a knot in her stomach for days coming up to the announcement. She knew how much getting shortlisted meant to me.”
Delohery chose to paint a portrait of Curtin University Professor Stelarc for this year’s award. Thomas was humbled to have Stelarc – himself a prolific and maverick international artist – agree to be painted and ecstatic that his muse was delighted with the finished painting. Thomas cites his abilities at capturing his subject matter: “I have always been interested in the human face and figure, especially in conflict. I think the subject matter chooses the artist and not the other way around.”
The road to recognition for his work has been a visceral and confronting one for Thomas in many ways. His nominated work for the 2016 Black Swan Prize was a portrait of author and Holocaust survivor Henri Korn. After examining the portrait for several hours, Henri proclaimed that Thomas had captured a deeply profound family moment with a few brush strokes, a moment “that really put a lump in my throat” according to the artist. It demonstrates the potential power of skilful artistry.
Thomas currently teaches visual art as part of Kangan Institute’s Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) program (VCALSEN001) at Broadmeadows and Richmond campuses. He highlights that his passion for arts and creative accomplishments in industry provide a rich source of content for his classes.
“We have the chance to change young people’s lives for the better and make them more resilient for the real World outside of TAFE” Thomas says of his passion for teaching. What is his advice for budding artists wishing to follow in his footsteps with a career in arts?
“Be yourself, be original. Learn the rules before you break them. When you do well always give back.”
Thomas and his wife Performance Artist Sandra Minchin Delohery (also a Visual Art Teacher at Bendigo Kangan Institute) are Curating a Frida Kahlo inspired International Group Exhibition The Wounded Deer at the Convent Gallery, Daylesford, Victoria, Australia on the 1st of October 2017.