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Last evening I had the pleasure to attend the gala opening of the Bald Archy prize for 2016 at Cleveland’s historic Grand View Hotel.

For those of you who, like me, have never heard of the Bald Archy competition, it is a parody of the Archibald Prize, an important Australian portraiture award. It usually includes cartoons or humorous works making fun of Australian celebrities. It is judged by Maude, a cockatoo. It began in 1994 at the Coolac Festival of Fun, in the tiny town of Coolac near Gundagai, New South Wales but is now a popular event presented in Sydney, Melbourne and other locations.

The Grand View Hotel is the first venue in Queensland to host the event, and last night we were treated to an opening address by the Bald Archy’s founder, Peter Batey OAM.

Peter Batey's opening speech to the Bald Archy showing at the Grand View Hotel

Peter Batey’s opening speech to the Bald Archy showing at the Grand View Hotel

Peter, now well into his eightys, has a long history of his involvement with the arts in Australia, and is perhaps best known for his contribution with Barry Humphries, to the creation of Edna Everidge, while his collaboration with Reg Livermore of many of his famed characters, starting with Betty Blokk Buster is widely acknowledged.

The Bald Archy showing will continue in the upstairs gallery at the Grand View Hotel for four weeks, and if you have a sense of humour and appreciation of irreverence, satire, larrikinism then this exhibition is for you to enjoy.

The Grand View Hotel at night

The Grand View Hotel at night