Australia's Mining Tycoon Gina Rinehart Demands Removal Of Her Portrait From The Museum

The gallery has received dozens of requests from Rinehart’s business associates and financial beneficiaries following her campaign efforts, for taking the painting down which the gallery has rejected. The NGA has affirmed its stance of encouraging public dialogue about its collection and exhibitions.

Billionaires often relish being portrayed in paintings and photographs. However, in a recent development, Australian mining tycoon Gina Rinehart has requested the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) to remove her portrait from an exhibition created by the award-winning artist Vincent Namatjira. Rinehart, Australia’s wealthiest individual, finds the portrayal unflattering.

The gallery has received dozens of requests from Rinehart’s business associates and financial beneficiaries following her campaign efforts, for taking the painting down which the gallery has rejected. The NGA has affirmed its stance of encouraging public dialogue about its collection and exhibitions. “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.  They added further, “We present works of art to the Australian public to inspire people to explore, experience and learn about art.”

The Painting

The painting, part of Vincent Namatjira’s collection titled “Australia in Colour,” portrays Rinehart with a double chin, droopy eye, nose, and lips. It is one of 21 cartoonish portraits in the series, which also features figures like the late Queen Elizabeth II, Australian football player Adam Goodes, former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, England’s King Charles III, musician Jimi Hendrix, and AC/DC guitarist Angus Young. It will remain on display until July 21. Interestingly, when exhibited in Adelaide at the Art Gallery of South Australia from October 2023 to January 2024, there were no requests for its removal.

READ MORE: Macron’s Global ‘Olympic Truce’ Declined by Zelenskyy and Putin Amid Ongoing Conflict

Namatjira’s work is famous for its caricature-like, almost cartoonish depictions of people. One notable piece shows King Charles III in full regalia, appearing uncomfortable and out of place in the Australian desert. “I paint the world as I see it,” Namatjira told the media on Thursday.  “People don’t have to like my paintings, but I hope they take the time to look and think, ‘why has this Aboriginal bloke painted these powerful people? What is he trying to say?’”

Vincent Namatjira’s Legacy

Vincent Namatjira, the first Aboriginal artist to win the Archibald Prize in 2020 for his portrait of Adam Goodes, is recognized for his use of satirical humor to critique those in power.

Born in Alice Springs and raised in foster care in Perth, Namatjira lost touch with his family, culture, and homeland at an early age. It wasn’t until adulthood that he discovered his connection to the renowned watercolourist Albert Namatjira and understood the importance of his family legacy and artistic heritage.

His artwork seeks to challenge perspectives and provoke thought, as demonstrated in his ongoing exhibition, “Vincent Namatjira: Australia in Colour,” which features 21 pieces.

A reproduction of Rinehart’s portrait is also included in a prestigious Thames & Hudson monograph on Namatjira’s work, published to accompany the exhibition. The controversy surrounding this portrait has heightened the discussion on artistic expression and its impact on public figures and society.

Gina Rinehart Amid Controversies

According to Forbes, Rinehart has an estimated net worth of $31 billion, having taken over Hancock Prospecting, the mining company founded by her late father. Her inheritance, however, is overshadowed by controversial remarks her father made in the 1980s, including racist comments suggesting the sterilization of Indigenous Australians who he claimed were not contributing to society. He also opposed Aboriginal land rights.

According to News.com.au, Rinehart has neither condemned nor publicly commented on her late father’s views. However, her advocates highlight her philanthropy with Indigenous groups as indicative of her personal stance on the matter.

ALSO READ : Assassin’s Creed: Shadows Takes Fans On A Feudal Japan Adventure For The First Time! – Release Date And Exciting Gameplay Details Revealed