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The subject of Prudence Flint’s portrait, Athena Bellas, currently lectures in Screen Studies at the University of Melbourne. She is about to publish her first book, which explores representations of girlhood on screen.
‘We have an intense friendship and share many interests. She has been modelling for my paintings since she was 14, and has been inextricably linked to their evolution,’ say Flint.
‘The idea for the pose came to me last winter, when I was spending a lot of time at home alone. I wanted to capture the bedroom as the ultimate sanctuary. At first I grappled with the details of the pose, trying to convey an uneasy openness full of intent and possibility. “The meal” refers to reconciling the need for solitude and freedom with the appetite for the outside world.’
Born in 1962, Melbourne-based Flint won the 2016 Len Fox Painting Award, the 2010 Portia Geach Memorial Award and the 2004 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. She has held solo exhibitions across Australia. This is her fifth time as a finalist in the Archibald Prize.