This is my second portrait of actor Sarah Peirse, here embodying Miss Docker, the central character of Patrick White’s most famous play “A Cheery Soul”. I saw her performance a number of times late last year in the Sydney Theatre Company’s third production of the play. The painting is a homage to the famous 17thC painting by Diego Velasquez of Pablo de Valladolid, buffoon to Philip IV of Spain. As a kind of inversion of the Velasquez painting which shows the actor making an expansive heroic gesture, the isolated figure of Miss Docker peers out uncertainly from a darkened stage. I’m delighted to see Sarah (or is it Miss Docker?) as a finalist in the Archibald again. Now that the Archibald has been announced Sarah and I are very pleased indeed that Miss Docker has been recognised as Highly Commended by the Trustees of the AGNSW!
In 2018 I was honoured to be commissioned to paint the portrait of Linda Burney MP for the Australian Parliamentary Collection. The painting was unvieied at Parliament House in Canberra this morning in a very moving ceremony. In 2016 Linda Burney was the first Indigenous woman to be elected to the House of Representatives. Today, February 13, 2019, is the 11th anniversary of Australia’s Apology to the Stolen Generations.