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Anh Do’s subject is actor Jack Charles. ‘Jack is a friend who’s lived a big life,’ says Do.
‘The first time I heard of him was in a newspaper article. It introduced him as “esteemed actor, former heroin addict and jailbird, member of the stolen generation, gay man and latter-day Indigenous activist”. Jack has shared with me heartbreaking stories of a life filled with sadness and loss, never with self-pity but with humour and grace. In the end, Jack triumphed, becoming a role model and much-loved community leader.’
‘Jack’s face is full of character. I wanted the painting to capture his gravitas but also the loneliness that has been his constant companion. I mixed wet and semi-dried paint to create a texture that would evoke mountains and waterfalls, tree bark, fallen leaves, clouds and rain to encapsulate the beauty of the Australian landscape inside this beautiful man’s face.’
‘The reflection at the bottom reaches out into the space between the portrait and the viewer, an invitation to come closer and connect with a fellow human being.’
Born in Vietnam in 1977, Do is a comedian, author and artist. He was an Archibald finalist in 2014 with a portrait of his father.