Susi Muddiman with the Julia Gillard portrait at the Tweed Regional Art Gallery.
Susi Muddiman with the Julia Gillard portrait at the Tweed Regional Art Gallery. Blainey Woodham

Julia faces the public at gallery

WHILE former prime minister Kevin Rudd was hung out to dry, new Prime Minister Julia Gillard was simply hung up.

The Tweed River Art Gallery has commemorated Ms Gillard’s historic rise to the top job by hanging an old Archibald finalist portrait of the incumbent PM.

Gallery director Susi Muddiman thought it was the ideal opportunity to place the portrait back on display on Thursday when Mr Rudd stood down as prime minister and leader of the ALP.

“I thought back in 2006 when it was a finalist in the Archibald Prize that Ms Gillard was an important figure in Australian politics, and may one day be the nation’s first female prime minister,” Ms Muddiman said.

“The painting had an excellent provenance, and I thought it was an excellent portrait which really captured the politician.”

The oil and acrylic on linen portrait, titled Julia, was the work of Victorian artist Kathleen Vafiadis.

Ms Vafiadis has painted Ms Gillard’s portrait on several occasions.

Julia was selected as a finalist and exhibited in the 2006 Archibald Prize when Ms Gillard was opposition health spokeswoman.

The work made its way to the gallery for the 2008 exhibition Wish You Were Here, to commemorate the gallery’s 20th anniversary.

It was later donated to the gallery through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gift Program.

“Although the portrait was not acquired through purchase, over the last 18 months the gallery has held the work in agreement with the artist.

“I am delighted that the portrait has officially been donated to the gallery’s collection,” Ms Muddiman said.

The hanging of the portrait coincided with last night’s launch of exhibition Salon des Refusés, the alternative to the Archibald and Wynne Prize selection.



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