First awarded in 1921, Australia’s Archibald Prize for portraiture had not been won by an Indigenous Australian until this year. For the piece “Stand Strong for Who You Are,” beloved artist Vincent Namatjira painted himself alongside former AFL footballer, anti-racism advocate and 2014 Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes—who faced immense racism during his career, from fans and within the league. In the portrait notes, the artist says, “When I was younger and growing up in the foster system in Perth, Indigenous footballers were like heroes to me. Goodesy is much more than a great footballer, though—he took a strong stand against racism and said ‘Enough is enough.’ I stand strong with you too, brother.” This year (which set a record for entries) was the fourth time Namatjira (whose works oftentimes inject a cheeky sense of humor into more poignant messages) was among the finalists. The artist says, “It only took 99 years. I’m so proud to be the first but I also have to acknowledge all the Indigenous finalists and Indigenous sitters for this year and past years.” Read more at The Guardian.
Image courtesy of Vincent Namatjira, photograph by Mim Stirling/AGNSW