Award winning self-portrait inspired by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

Yvette Coppersmith's self-portrait is currently displayed at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Yvette Coppersmith's self-portrait is currently displayed at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Photo credit: Yvette Coppersmith

An artist has won a prestigious $100,000 award for a portrait that was inspired by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Ms Ardern has offered "huge and warm congratulations" to the artist. 

Melbourne-based artist Yvette Coppersmith was awarded the Archibald Prize for her painting 'Self-portrait after George Lambert', but she had initially requested to paint Ms Ardern.

When the Prime Minister said she was unavailable, Ms Coppersmith chose to paint a self-portrait instead using her as a source of inspiration.

"Ardern wasn't available but I thought I might channel something of her in my self-portrait," she told the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

"I had several reasons for asking Jacinda Ardern, but through her role she expands what an image of a young woman can signify  inspiring others to think beyond any perceived limits of their own image in relation to the contemporary political landscape."

"My huge and warm congratulations to Yvette - it is such a significant award," Ms Ardern said.

"I remember her request well. I looked at her works and was just so impressed. It was a real shame I couldn't help by sitting for her, but as it turned out, she didn't need me!"

The oil and acrylic painting on linen also took inspiration from one of Ms Coppersmith's favourite artists George Lambert.

"His style was academic, yet he supported the avant-garde in Australia and painted portraits of his artistic contemporaries Thea Proctor and Hera Roberts  both independent, self-possessed style-makers at a time of burgeoning female empowerment," she said.

"In referencing George Lambert's style, it's like an outfit slipped on, creating a fixed image of an ever-changing self."

Ms Coppersmith said the self-portrait style "allows me to work from life, with intense absorption in the painting process".


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