Gladys Berejiklian is the Minister for Transport and the deputy leader of the New South Wales Liberal Party. Salvatore Zofrea was drawn to paint her having seen her frequently in the media. ‘She has a very striking appearance, marvellous bone structure and a very friendly smile,’ he says.
‘When the time came to paint her, I decided to draw on my experience in making woodblock prints – in other words, to use bold outlines, which conveyed her strength of character, unique features and her down-to-earth, practical approach to life.
‘The light cobalt dress Ms Berejiklian selected for the sittings inspired me to choose a resonant lemon-yellow for the background. The sitter’s posture, leaning slightly forward in the chair, is indicative of her self-contained strength and strong sense of purpose. She seems to be listening intently to someone and giving them her full attention. This is what, in my view, gives the portrait its strength: her large, compelling eyes make direct contact with the viewer who is drawn into the portrait. The expression in those eyes is the heart and soul of the painting.’
Born in Italy in 1946, Zofrea came to Australia in 1956. A painter and printmaker, he frequently draws on literary, historical and religious sources and in recent years has been inspired by the Australian bush. He has won the Sulman Prize three times. This year he is also represented in the Wynne Prize. His portrait of Berejiklian is now in the collection of Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, NSW.