The Global Resource For Connecting Buyers and Sellers

Rinehart asks Australia’s national gallery to take down her portrait

Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart may have drawn more attention than she had likely after she reported asked the country’s national gallery to remove a seemingly unflattering portrait of her.

The portrait is displayed alongside that of 20 other famous people in a single exhibition by indigenous artist Vincent Namatjira, which opened at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Canberra this March and is set to run until July 21.

Also featured in the exhibition include the late Queen Elizabeth II, American musician Jimi Hendrix, former Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and even the artist Namatjira himself. All portraits were painted in Namatjira’s distinctive style that often employs humor and exaggerated features to interrogate the rich and powerful.

According to multiple reports including the Sydney Morning Herald, Rinehart and her associates at Hancock Prospecting have made multiple approaches to the NGA to taken down her portrait, found right next to Namatjira’s own portrait (see below).

Credit: National Gallery of Australia

In response, the NGA told various media outlets, including the biggest in the US and UK, that it would welcome the public having a dialogue on its collection and displays.

“Since 1973, when the National Gallery acquired Jackson Pollocks’ Blue Poles, there has been a dynamic discussion on the artistic merits of works in the national collection, and/or on display at the Gallery,” the NGA statement said.

“We present works of art to the Australian public to inspire people to explore, experience and learn about art,” it added.

The Gallery also shared a statement from Namatjira, who said his intention was to paint “people who are wealthy, powerful, or significant – people who have had an influence on this country, and on me personally, whether directly or indirectly, whether for good or for bad.”

“Some people might not like it, other people might find it funny, but I hope people look beneath the surface and see the serious side too,” he wrote.

The National Association for the Visual Arts also spoke out to defend Australian artists like Namatjira, who it believes have the right to “create art about any subject and by any means.”

“While Rinehart has the right to express her opinions about the work,” the association’s executive director Penelope Benton said on Thursday, “she does not have the authority to pressure the gallery into withdrawing the painting simply because she dislikes it.”

This is not the first time that Namatjira’s artistic inspirations and Rinehart had crossed paths. In 2017, the mining magnate, now Australia’s wealthiest person, was portrayed standing beside the artist himself, and in another standalone portrait in a separate series.

Source: MINING.COM – Read More