Archibald Prize 2019: Art Gallery of New South Wales

Thea Anamara Perkins’ subject is contemporary Aboriginal artist Christian Thompson. ‘I met Christian when I was nine and he has been part of our family ever since. I have always admired Christian’s work and the inner world that generates it. In his images, he will often meld into a dreamscape and is often partially or largely concealed. It was my intention to bring him unadorned, as an individual, to the forefront,’ says Perkins.


‘In making this portrait I felt the importance of creating representations of Indigenous people in our multifariousness. I think it is also important to represent our queer community. Christian’s heritage is alluded to in the stem of Desert Slipper, which grows on Bidjara country in Barcaldine, Queensland, where he is from. Pink felt dynamic and I hoped to capture Christian’s gentleness and what he calls his “feminine Virgo moon-rising energy”. I let him arrive at his pose naturally, and focused on the face and hands, and let the clothes merge into the frame.’