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Henry Mulholland Peter Shortland and Vince

240 x 120 cm

Photo by Lino Rubiolini

Henry Mulholland has known Peter Shortland, a classically trained dancer who operates a dance studio in Newtown, for ten years. “He has always been incredibly committed to his art form but is not widely recognised,” says Mulholland.

“When we are out and about, his figure always dominates the composition of any group. His stance and manner are theatrical and stem from his performance background. Peter owns four cats and I included one of them, Vince, because I have always noticed a connection between the way he moves and the feline grace of the animals.”

It was an easy decision to choose Shortland as his subject, says Mulholland, “because I wanted to do a portrait of a friend I knew well, someone who was my own age and someone with whom I could enjoy the process of seeing the portrait assume its final shape, relaxed in the knowledge that neither of us were too precious about the result.”

Born in Northern Ireland in 1962, Henry Mulholland migrated to Australia in 1973. He studied at the National Art School at East Sydney Technical College. He has been represented in the Archibald Prize on three previous occasions.