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Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Poppy Chicka



Thea Anamara Perkins


Language group

Arrernte, Central Desert region, Kalkadoon/Gulf region


Thea Perkins’s portrait of her dearly beloved poppy Chicka is intimate; here Uncle Chicka stands during Golden Hour, right before sunset. Uncle Chicka’s gaze is pensive as he looks out at the viewer. His eyes are soft, and the lines of aging around his face reflect the years of service that he has given to the Sydney Aboriginal Community and to cultural organisations like the Gallery.

‘I painted my pop as I wanted to pay homage to him as a prominent and respected Gadigal Elder, known around Redfern as ‘Chicka’. He’s given a lifetime of service to local grassroots organisations, including the Aboriginal Medical Service, Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, and his beloved Redfern All Blacks. He also worked on the railways in Sydney for over 50 years. He has the gentleness that comes with great strength and integrity.

‘I initially painted him in the suit that he wears to give Welcomes to Country, which is very dignified. However, I realised I wanted to show a more private side and opted for a more casual setting. I hope this painting conveys how I feel about my grandfather and how our family is – to quote musician Kev Carmody – “blessed with the gentlest of men”.’ Thea Anamara Perkins 2020


Other Title

Sitter: Charles Madden - Sydney Elder



Media category


Materials used

acrylic on clayboard


40.5 x 30.5 x 4.0 cm


Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors' Group 2020


Not on display

Accession number


Archibald Prize

- 2020

Artist information

Thea Anamara Perkins

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history