The 2016 Bald Archy “choppergate” portrait of former House of Reps Speaker Bronwyn Bishop.
The 2016 Bald Archy “choppergate” portrait of former House of Reps Speaker Bronwyn Bishop. Ingrid Jaugietis

Bold and brash Bald Archy travelling show on way to Bunker

THE BALD Archy exhibition is one of the most popular to have visited the Bunker Cartoon Gallery and makes a long awaited return this month.

Now in its 23rd year, the Bald Archy Prize began in 1994 as part of the Festival of Fun in Coolac near Gundagai.

It was an arts festival but not called that because, as Bald Archy creator Peter Batey noted "...if it was called an arts festival, nobody from the Coolac region would have come."

The Bald Archy Prize has been described as the best collection of comic portraits ever seen in Sydney.

"It was only intended to be a one-off," Batey says.

"But, although it was small with 16 entries and a prize of $500, the Bald Archy proved to have staying power with entry numbers heading toward the 100 mark and a $10,000 first prize.

"It's irreverent, larrikin portraiture ranging from hilarious to the bizarrely vulgar."

The Bald Archy subject criteria are similar to the Archibald.

Subjects have to be well known Australians in field such as culture, politics, business, sport and medicine - and most important of all, it must be comic or satiric.

Past winning subjects include Kerry Packer, Amanda Vanstone, Edmund Capon, Shane Warne, Dame Edna Everage, John Howard, Pauline Hanson, Robbie and Gai Waterhouse, Rupert Murdoch, Jeff Kennett, Cardinal George Pell, Tony Abbott and Ian Thorpe.

Opening night is Saturday, May 14, from 6pm.