blak douglas wins the the 2022 Archibald Prize

13 May 2022

Congratulations to five-time finalist Blak Douglas for winning the 2022 Archibald Prize with his portrait of fellow artist and friend, Wiradjuri woman, Karla Dickens.

‘Spiritually, we all know that Mother Earth is angry at us,’ says Blak Douglas, a Sydney-based artist with Dhungatti heritage. His portrait of Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens, who lives on Bundjalung Country in Lismore, is a metaphor for the disastrous floods that hit northern NSW in early 2022. Its title references the 1851 novel Moby Dick, by Herman Melville. Douglas says, ‘Karla is Moby – a strong, prized figure pursued by foreign combatants.’

Douglas often uses flat-bottomed clouds as a symbol in his work, representing what he calls the ‘false ceiling of government’. There are 14 of them in this painting, indicating the number of days and nights that the first deluge lasted in February.

‘The story of Noah’s Ark comes to mind,’ says Douglas. ‘One would think that a devoutly religious prime minister might take significantly more note of the community’s desperate call for assistance.’

The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize Exhibition is on show at the Art Gallery of NSW from 14 May to 28 August.

 

Image: Blak Douglas with fellow N\H artist, Kim Leutwyler delivering their paintings to the Art Gallery of NSW in late March.  Image courtesy: Sydney Morning Herald

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