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Religious Art Prize Winner

Is A Railway Porter

Winner of the 200 guineas first award in the Blake Prize for religious painting announced last night is Michael Kmit, 42, a Ukrainian, who works as a railway porter in Sydney.

Mr Kmit worked all night on the painting — called 'The Evangelist John Mark" — to finish it a few hours before entries closed. It is one of three that he entered.

"I am very surprised that it has won because I do not think it is the best of the three, and I decided to enter it only at the last moment,"   he said at his home in Ithaca Road, Elizabeth Bay, last night.


Mr Kmit won second prize last year and was highly commended in 1951.

Well-known Sydney artist, Frank Hinder, who won first   prize last year, received sec-

ond prize of 50 guineas with a painting called "Jesus of


His wife recently won £250 and was among the first 12 in an international competition organised by the London Arts Society. The   subject was "The Unknown Political Prisoner".

Mr Kmit paints only in his spare time, mostly at night. During the day he works as a second class railway porter.

Although he has two art degrees and is a qualified art teacher, he cannot get a job teaching art here because his English is too bad.

He was born in the Ukraine. During the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 his family took   him to Poland. He studied art in Cracow, Paris and Rome, and later taught art at the Academy of Modern Art in Cracow.

He came to Australia four years ago with his wife and two young children.

Through the help of other

artists he joined several art societies and was given the use of a studio.


Mr Kmit is an artist of the expressionist school. He often works all night on a painting if he feels the urge, but says that sometimes he cannot paint for days.

His winning picture was not finished until the morning of the day entries  

closed because he had not found the inspiration to complete it.  

If he does not like a picture when he has finished it he destroys it. "I have destroyed about 200 of my pictures", he    


The exhibition will be officially opened to-morrow in     Mark Foy's exhibition gallery, Liverpool Street and will close   on April 30.  

Eighty three paintings chosen from an entry of 350 will be on show.

Preview of entries, p. 2;  

picture, p. 3.

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