Born in Sydney, NSW in 1949, Josonia Palaitis studied at the National Art School and Alexander Mackie Teachers’ College, Sydney and gained a Diploma of Art Education in 1972. She received a Bachelors degree in Art Education from the City Art Institute, Sydney in 1984.
From 1973 to 1975 Palaitis lived in Papua New Guinea where she began painting professionally in a realist style that she had learned from her father John Mills , who was well known as an illustrator for the Australian Women’s Weekly.
In 2000 Palaitis was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, to paint a double portrait of then Prime Minister John Howard and his wife Janette Howard for the permanent collection. In 2002 Palaitis was chosen to paint the Childers Memorial Portrait depicting the 15 young backpackers who died in a hostel fire in the Queensland town of Childers. This painting is on permanent display in the Memorial Room of the Childers Regional Gallery.
Palaitis was a finalist in the 1980 Archibald Prize with her portrait of then Australian Treasurer John Howard. She has been a finalist in this annual portrait competition a further five times, including in 2006 with her portrait of Justice Michael Kirby. In 1995 her portrait of cartoonist Bill Leak won the Archibald Prize People’s Choice Award.
Palaitis won the 1994 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize with a portrait of her father John Mills. This portrait and a portrait of her mother, also a Moran Prize finalist in 2002, are in the permanent collection of the Tweed River Art Gallery, NSW. Her portrait of Patrick Dodson, Yawuru Man, a finalist in the 1998 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and winner of the 1998 Salon des Refuses People’s Choice Award, was purchased by the National Library of Australia for the Pictorial Collection.
Since her first solo exhibition at the Holdsworth Galleries in 1981 Palaitis has exhibited regularly in a number of solo and group exhibitions. In 2007 she held an exhibition at Sydney’s Hardware Gallery, where she is represented.
- Palaitis, Josonia
Note: With Nicholas Fintan
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