Japanese-Australian artist Yuri Shimmyo recognised as finalist of Archibald Prize 2020

Yuri Shimmyo

Japanese-Australian artist Yuri Shimmyo recognised as finalist of Archibald Prize 2020

Japanese-Australian artist Yuri Shimmyo has been painting for as long as she can remember. Initially inspired by her grandfather, who was a hobbyist painter, Yuri began making art as a young child.

As she entered adulthood, she made the decision to take her hobby more seriously, and began studying at the Julian Ashton Art School. Since 2001, her work has been displayed in numerous art galleries across Sydney and New South Wales, including Mosman Art Gallery, S.H. Ervin Gallery and the New England Regional Art Museum.

Most recently, Yuri has been recognised as a 2020 finalist of one of the most prestigious art awards in Australia: the Archibald Prize. Since 1921, this prize has recognised exceptional Australian artists in the area of portraiture.

Yuri entered this award with her oil on canvas self-portrait titled Carnation, lily, Yuri, rose (pictured above).

                                             Yuri Shimmyo with her self-portrait ‘Carnation, lily, Yuri, rose’

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The title of this artwork, which Yuri decided on decades before she started painting it, is borrowed from John Singer Sargent’s painting Carnation, lily, lily, rose.

“My name Yuri is the Japanese word for the flower, lily. So I decided quite a long time ago, that I want to borrow that name and just use that title for a painting of me.” 

The artwork went through quite a few revisions before Yuri felt truly satisfied with it. Initially, she painted herself holding a bunch of paintbrushes, but felt uninspired, so she decided to cover her entire body and backdrop with lilies, carnations and roses. The result is a painting rich in colour, imagination and playfulness.

Yuri’s artistic process often takes place in this way – she takes inspiration from her physical surroundings and then chooses one aspect to reimagine in her work.


Yuri Shimmyo

                                                                                              ‘The unexpected’


Yuri Shimmyo


Although Yuri has spent the majority of her childhood and adult life in Australia, she continues to be influenced by Japanese culture and art, and frequently visits Japan. She is also a printmaker, and is inspired by the composition of traditional woodblock prints.

In terms of her style, Yuri describes it as a representation of reality in the form of a painting.

“I like for things to look real, but I’m definitely not a photorealist because my paintings don’t look anything like a photograph. I try to make it look convincingly real, but you can tell that it’s a painting” Yuri shared.

As for many artists, making art is not only Yuri’s passion, but also an essential way in which she nurtures her mental health.

“I feel much better when I’m painting – even if I can only paint once a week. It’s like medication for me.”

If you would like to see Yuri’s artwork in person, as well as the rest of the Archibald Prize 2020 finalists and winners, you can purchase tickets HERE.

To learn more about Yuri Shimmyo, you can visit her website HERE.

Isabel Zakharova

Isabel Zakharova is a final-year student at UTS, studying Communications and International Studies. She loves reading, writing and exploring other cultures - through travel, film and cuisine. Got a story to tell? Get in touch: [email protected]