Im thrilled to be a finalist in the Archibald Prize with my portrait of Faustina Agolley, a Ghanaian-Chinese, openly queer actor, broadcaster, television producer, writer and DJ. To celebrate, I’ll be donating 10% of sales from my artwork sold in May to Black Rainbow!
This portrait began in September 2018. The preliminary sketches from our first sitting were followed by several exchanges of abstract colour sketches and feedback to understand which compositions and colours Faustina was most drawn to. Faustina’s portrait reached a stopping point when I began to feel severe pain and numbness in my hands, later diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome. Unable to hold a paint brush for long periods of time, Faustina and I had a short final sitting in February during which she read me a story about her childhood fictional crush. Turns out we both had the same crush as kids, and it was a unifying moment filled with laughter.
In historical art, women of colour are often erased, or when seen, reduced to tropes as opposed to the individuals they are/were. Queer women have largely been left out altogether. Representation of queer women of colour on the walls of our cultural institutions matters.
In this portrait of Faustina, I explore the boundaries between realism and abstraction to highlight the layers and complexity of identity. My hope is that this portrait will spark dialogue and action, and help raise the profile of women of colour in the arts by amplifying voices and diversifying representation. I also hope that this portrait will be wife-bait for Faustina’s future partner, she’s single ladies!
ABOUT THE ARCHIBALD PRIZE EXHIBITION:
The Archibald Prize is exhibited annually at one of Australia’s most prestigious museums, the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The overall winner of the Archibald Prize will receive $100,000!
For the month of May, I’ll be donating 10% of the sales from my original artwork to Black Rainbow, a non-profit focused on preventing Indigenous LGBQTI+ Suicide. They support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBQTI people who are homeless, leaving domestic violence relationships or the justice system. Blackrainbow.org.au
Available works can be seen here: kimleutwyler.com