Lennox Head artist Angus McDonald has taken out the People’s Choice award at this year’s Archibald Prize, for his portrait of Behrouz Boochani.
In his acceptance speech, the artist said he was ‘thrilled and humbled’ to receive the award, which he regarded as a massive compliment both to himself and to Mr Boochani, who has made a ‘deep and significant impact’ on Australia, despite never being allowed to set foot on the country.
Angus McDonald said, ‘Behrouz’s greatest contribution to us through his work was to hold up a mirror and show us how we stumbled without noticing into becoming a worst version of ourselves.’
Mr McDonald said he hoped Australia would not waste this ‘gift’, but instead ‘use it to put an end to this dark chapter for good, and find a better way by rediscovering the self-respect and pride that is within us as a whole society to act with compassion generosity to those that need safety and a hand up.
‘Imagine what we could achieve together if we find the courage to do that,’ he said.
This is Mr McDonald’s sixth time as an Archibald Prize finalist. His award-winning short film Manus was released in 2019.
Behrouz Boochani is now free from detention and living in New Zealand.
On 12 February 2021 the people of the Northern Rivers will have the opportunity to see this award-winning portrait for themselves, and hear from the artist, in conversation with Kerry O’Brien, at the Tweed Regional Gallery, in a special Sunset Session.
Numbers are strictly limited. Bookings here: https://archibaldsunsetsession.eventbrite.com.au