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Second portrait Gina Rinehart wants gone emerges

A black-and-white drawing of Gina Rinehart is also on display in the National Gallery.

A black-and-white drawing of Gina Rinehart is also on display in the National Gallery. Photo: Getty/TND

A second portrait of billionaire Gina Rinehart that supporters want removed from the National Gallery of Australia has emerged, as the row over art censorship draws global attention.

The pencil drawing by award-winning artist Vincent Namatjira is displayed separately in the ‘Australia in black and white’ series, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The image of Australia’s richest person, created in 2018, is shown along with 16 artworks of high-profile Australians including media mogul Rupert Murdoch and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson.

It comes as news this week that Rinehart had sought to have a colour portrait by Namatjira removed from the National Gallery draws global attention.

A headline in Time magazine reads: An Australian Billionaire Tried to Suppress an Aboriginal Artist’s Unflattering Portrait of Her and the article described the portrait’s “misshapen head, downturned lips, and a double chin”.

The BBC reported that the “peculiar spat” over the picture had set off a national debate about censorship and art.

Earlier this week it was revealed that the National Gallery had rebuffed efforts to remove the colour portrait of Rinehart, which is broadly described as “unflattering”, by the same Archibald prize-winning artist.

That caricature-style image was part of a Vincent Namatjira: Australia in Colour series of 21 portraits which the gallery acquired as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations in 2022.

The artwork is on show as part of Namatjira’s first major survey exhibition which opened in Canberra in March.

gina rinehart

The ‘offensive’ colour portrait of mining magnate Gina Rinehart.

The National Gallery said in a statement that it welcomed public dialogue on its collection and displays.

“Since 1973, when the National Gallery acquired Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles, there has been a dynamic discussion on the artistic merits of works in the national collection, and/or on display at the gallery,” it said.

“We present works of art to the Australian public to inspire people to explore, experience and learn about art.”

The colour portrait of Rinehart sits alongside images of Queen Elizabeth II and football player Adam Goodes which are all painted in Namatjira’s signature style and are set to be on display until July 21.

In 2020 Namatjira became the first Aboriginal artist to win the Archibald Prize with his portrait of former AFL player Adam Goodes, with his paintings an attempt to change people’s perspectives by using satirical humour as a commentary on power.

For example, in one of his recent works included in the show, King Charles III stands in his regalia in the central desert, looking decidedly uncomfortable and out of place, as an artistic way of depriving the royal family of their power and entitlement.

Before going on show in Canberra, the painting was on public display in Adelaide for months during the exhibition’s initial run at the Art Gallery of South Australia from October 2023 until January 2024.

The SA gallery has confirmed it did not field any requests for the removal of the painting.

A reproduction of the image is also part of a prestigious Thames & Hudson monograph about Vincent Namatjira’s work, published to accompany the survey show.

Rinehart is listed as a friend of the National Gallery after donating between $4999 and $9999 to the institution.

In 2023, Rinehart withdrew a $15 million sponsorship of Netball Australia after Indigenous netballer Donnell Wallam asked for her uniform not to carry the Hancock Prospecting logo.

Rinehart later set up a $3 million fund to reward athletes who won gold medals or set world records in swimming, artistic swimming, rowing and volleyball.

Namatjira was born in Alice Springs and raised in foster care in Perth from the age of six, which meant losing his connection to family, country and culture.

He grew up not knowing of his link to famed watercolourist Albert Namatjira — Vincent is his great-grandson — until he was an adult, and was astonished to discover his artistic legacy and the significance of his family name.

-with AAP

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