Artist Shaun Gladwell’s diptych, called simplyBlack Digger, shows two profiles of Meyne Wyatt in character for the play, which was a co-production between Queensland Theatre Company and Sydney Festival, premiering in January this year.
Directed by Wesley Enoch and written by Tom Wright, Black Diggers uncovers the fearless contribution Aboriginal Diggers made to Australian history and follows their journeys from their homelands to the WWI battlefields of Gallipoli, Palestine and Flanders.
Judge Sarah Engledow selected the portrait as the winning entry of the $50,000 prize at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery on Friday night.
Dr Engledow, the historian at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, said the portrait was 'the one that sustained my interest, aesthetically and sympathetically' in a rich field of finalists.
'I was moved by the restraint of the work, its gentleness, and the effect of its miniscule differences.'
The Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award finalists’ exhibition will continue until 5 July in the Bega Valley Regional Gallery.
Black Diggers will show in Brisbane from 24 September to 12 October 2014.