Sydney Community Services’ Art Group is a collaborative artistic working group that embraces all abilities.

This year nine participants painted a twelve panel portrait.  Over the years the Art Group has used the portrait as an opportunity to showcase an inspiring individual who works hard to make the world a better place.

This year the Art Group was honoured to have Mr Alastair McEwin, Australian Human Rights Commissioner for Disability as their 2017 subject for their Archibald portrait entry. He is a remarkable and inspiring man. He is a lawyer and a strong advocate for disability and has been deaf from birth.

The Commissioner joined us at the Art Gallery to meet with the group and see the portrait before we submitted it. We want to thank the Commissioner very much for his generous participation and positive feedback – it was a delight to share some time with him and a privilege to paint his portrait. We also want to thank art teacher, Brandt Lewis for leading the group through the process and also Gladesville RSL who helped fund this project through Club CDSE grants.

The Archibald Prize

The Archibald Prize is awarded annually to the best portrait, ‘preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics and painted by any artist resident in Australasia’.

This open competition is judged by the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW. Finalists are displayed in an exhibition at the Gallery (although in the early years all entrants were hung). Although it is a non-acquisitive prize, several of the entries are now part of the Gallery’s collection.

The Archibald Prize was first awarded in 1921. In establishing the prize, JF Archibald’s aim was to foster portraiture as well as support artists and perpetuate the memory of great Australians. Over the years some of Australia’s most prominent artists have entered and the subjects have been equally celebrated in their fields.




Watch the interview of Alastair McEwin, Australian Human Rights Commissioner for Disability