Josonia Palaitis, Australian Painter

A Distinguished Career

Artist Josonia Palaitis has won top Australian art awards and fulfilled many important portrait painting commissions.

She was awarded the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize ($100,000) with a portrait of her father. Her portrait of renowned Australian cartoonist Bill Leak won the 1995 Archibald People’s Choice Award.

The National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, commissioned Palaitis to paint a double portrait of the Prime Minister and his wife.  Her portrait painting of Prime Minister John Howard and Janette Howard in 2000 shows the couple standing informally in the gardens of Kirribilli House, Sydney.

Palaitis was awarded the Childers Memorial Portrait Commission.  This large emotive painting celebrates the lives of 15 young international backpackers who perished in a hostel fire in rural Queensland.  It was unveiled to universal acclaim in 2002 and is on permanent display at Childers, Queensland.

Prominent Portrait Subjects

Justice Michael Kirby of the Australian High Court, agreed to be Palaitis’ portrait subject for the 2006 Archibald Prize.  The portrait now hangs at the Supreme Court of NSW.

The prestigious annual Archibald Prize exhibition has shown other portrait paintings by Josonia Palaitis many times.  Her first entry of Treasurer John Howard was in 1980. Other prominent  Australians who have sat for portrait paintings by Josonia Palaitis include musician James Morrision, author Thomas Keneally, television presenter Ray Martin, and His Eminence Cardinal Edward Clancy.

The National Library of Australia purchased a portrait of Patrick Dodson, Yaruwu Man by Josonia Palaitis for its Pictorial Collection.  Dodson is known as the Father of Aboriginal Reconciliation.  In May 2008 Dodson was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize.   

A Versatile Artist

Josonia Palaitis has been painting professionally since graduating from National Art School, Sydney in 1972.  She has held many solo exhibition of her paintings.  As well as portraits she has painted  landscape, still-life, abstract and imaginative works.  She paints in oils and watercolours.  

She is an active member of the Australian art world.  Josonia Palaitis has been invited to speak publicly about art, open art exhibitions and conduct painting workshops.

Josonia Palaitis has undertaken many complex commissioned painting projects during her long career.


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A Brief History
Artist's Biography (CV)

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