Presentation to Judy Cassab

(3pm, Saturday 16 November 2013, Eva Breuer Gallery, Woollahra)

Good afternoon, everyone. I acknowledge Her Excellency, Professor Marie Bashir and the many distinguished guests that are gathered here today - to celebrate the life and work of today's guest of honour, Judy Cassab, here with her sons John and Peter.

It's just over 60 years since you migrated to Australia with your family, and 60 years exactly since your first exhibition at Macquarie Galleries. Since then your energy and commitment to your work has generated no less than 56 solo exhibitions held in most cities in Australia, as well as in London and Paris.

Your list of achievements is extraordinary - to name a few - you've won the Archibald prize twice - and were awarded the Commander of the Order British Empire in 1969 and the Order of Australia in 1988.

Council is very proud to have two portraits by Judy Cassab in Town Hall. One being - then Alderman - Nicholas Shehadie - painted in 1975 - and Alderman Harry Jensen - painted in 1977. I know that it was their personal choice - for Judy to paint their portraits.

During History Week in September this year - over 300 people attended a special viewing of the portrait galleries in the Town Hall and those two portraits of Aldermen - painted by the collection's only female portrait artist - Judy Cassab - featured in a discussion about the importance of portraiture in this digital age. We talked a lot about how we record people in public office - and the importance of portraits for the unique insight they can give us about a person.

It's now recognised that the arts and a rich cultural life are vital contributors to the success of cities internationally.

But in Sydney, in 1951, I doubt that they were a priority! All the more reason, then, to salute you for your tenacious pursuit of your art and the very great contribution you have made to the life of this city.

I am delighted to join these celebrations to honour your remarkable life and distinguished career.

It now gives me pleasure to present you with this certificate of achievement in recognition of your inestimable contribution to the artistic and cultural life of Sydney and Australia.