Archibald Prize portraits of Forster and Edwards shine a light on marriage equality
The issue of marriage equality will be highlighted at this year’s Archibald Prize with not one, but two, portraits of City of Sydney Councillor Christine Forster and her fiancée, Virginia Edwards entered in the portrait competition.
Sydney artist Robyn Ross painted one portrait while the other is by Perry Westwood.
“Virginia and I were really honoured to be approached for these two hugely talented Sydney artist,” Forster said.
“I know that both Robyn and Perry were motivated to paint us because they wanted to make their own statements in support of marriage equality.
“Their paintings are very different but both are incredibly powerful portrayals of the love Virginia and I have for each other and our desire to be able to marry here in Australia.”
Westwood said his aim was to convey the “joy and energy” in the couple’s relationship.
“I really wanted to create a piece that captured the joy and energy in Christine and Virginia’s relationship and the way they engage with others,” Westwood said.
“Their statement about marriage is raw and heartfelt, and I wanted my paiting to show that honesty.”
For Ross, the portrait not only showcases same-sex relationships, but it also underscores the unequal treatment compared to their heterosexual counterparts.
“When I met Christine and Virginia, I was struck by the obvious connection between them, and I kept asking myself, ‘Why can't these two women be married?’ Ross said.
“I think many Australians now ask themselves that, and come up with the same answer as me: there is no sense in two people who love each other being unable to marry.”
Entries to the Archibald Prize close on June 27.
Finalist will be on show at the Art Gallery of NSW from July 19.
GALLERY: Scroll down to view the two portraits
PORTRAIT BY ROBYN ROSS
PORTRAIT BY PERRY WESTWOOD