The Senator and Ma (portrait of Penny Wong)
Acrylic on linen
237 x 195cm
“Penny, what is most important to you?”
My art exposes the unwanted shadow (yin in Chinese terms) to bring about balance in society. ‘The Senator and Ma’ portrays Penny as one being in two interrelated capacities.
As the provocative politician, Senator Wong stands with her arms open, eyes confronting viewers, posing questions. Although standing on the Senate seating plan, her small red chair reveals that, to her, power is undesirable.
As a mother, Penny is caught in a happy moment, talking with her daughter. Her gaze extends beyond the painting to reveal her optimistic nature.
Mount Kinabalu recalls Penny’s home in Malaysia. It was an unexpected suggestion when I consulted Penny as to the background. Perhaps the roughness symbolises her political and personal challenges. A path leads into the darkness. There is an unknown. But “there is hope,” as Penny recognises. There will always be a sunrise.
2016 Salon des Refusés – the ‘alternative’ Archibald Prize selection
S.H. Ervin Gallery
16 July – 18 September
Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery
25 September – 22 November