Jun Chen was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to paint a portrait of Li Cunxin — the former ballet dancer who inspired the book and film "Mao's Last Dancer" — for it's current exhibition titled 20/20, which celebrates the Gallery's 20th year. The work was acquired for the private collection with funds donated by Tim Fairfax AC.
20/20 showcases the suite of arresting new portraits commissioned to celebrate the National Portrait Gallery’s twentieth year. Portrait subjects – leaders and individualists invited by the Gallery – have been judiciously matched with artists, a synergy leading to the creation of distinctive contemporary artworks encompassing a variety of techniques and approaches to portraiture.
As with the portraits purchased and donated to the Gallery, the subject of each commissioned portrait is an Australian who is recognised for the notable contributions they have made to society, across a range of fields. Since the National Portrait Gallery’s foundation in 1998, over 50 portraits have entered the collection through the commissioning program.
The 20 new portraits displayed emphasise the Gallery’s ongoing commitment to commissioning contemporary portraits, and the unique relationship between sitter and artist. The significant support of donors has assisted the realisation of these portraits.
20/20 is on show at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra until 10 February 2019.