You would be hard pressed to find an 18-year-old more inspired by her father than Dilaria Niriella.
The recently graduated Pacific Hills Christian School student won the 2016 Young Archie in the 16-18 year category at a ceremony held on Saturday, September 17.
Asked to paint a portrait of someone who inspired her, Ms Niriella chose to paint someone close to her heart, her dad.
“Behind his tough exterior is a gentle, loving man with a sense of humour that I admire,” Ms Niriella said in her artist blurb when submitting her final work.
“If I was an author I would have written his story, but instead I have painted a portrait.
“He’s always there for me, he’s supportive no matter what and this is my way of showing my appreciation.”
This year 2249 students across NSW submitted artwork in four age categories.
Ms Niriella was invited as one of five finalists to the awards day held at the Art Gallery of NSW. She attended the event with her mother.
“They invited all the finalists to a high tea and they gave us all an award for being a finalist,” she told the News.
“So I was walking back to my seat with my finalist award and they said the winner is Dilaria Niriella.
“I was like ‘what, me’.
“It didn’t set in for the rest of the day… it was surreal.”
On Monday, October 10 mayor Yvonne Keane presented Ms Niriella with a mayoral commendation award for excellence in arts.
The Bella Vista resident will begin the Higher School Certificate today, October, 13 with 70 000 other Year 12 students across NSW.
She has already completed one unit of her final certificate, handing in her visual arts major work at the beginning of August.
“I did the girl with the pearl earring through time,” she said.
“There are 10 portraits from Renaissance to Romanticism through to contemporary. I changed the image and painted to that period in time.”
Ms Niriella hopes to study fine arts at university next year and eventually work as an artist in residence.
“It feels like my art making is validated now,” she said.
“Before I would think, ‘is it worth it? Do people like my art?’
“Now I know people do [like my art] and I know that I can keep creating stuff like this which is what I really want to do.”
Of the four Young Archie winners for 2016, two were from the Hills.
Mikael Woo, 12, won the 9-12 year category also drawing a picture of his father.
“I drew my father because he is my support, the righter of my wrongs, the maker of jokes and the player of games,” Mikael said in his artist blurb.
“He is the tree trunk on which I lean.”
The five finalists portraits from each age category are displayed at the Art Gallery of NSW.
The 2016 competition guest judge was artist Del Kathryn Barton, herself an Archibald Prize winner in 2008 and 2013.