Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information

Help us improve our prizes database. Contact us if you have more information.

Vanessa Stockard

Title
Self-portrait
Medium
acrylic and oil on birch panel
Dimensions
52 x 52 cm
Further information

Last year, Vanessa Stockard was a first-time Archibald finalist with a self-portrait as a new mother, having recently given birth to her daughter Isobel. A year on, she is a different woman.

‘I have become assertive as a mother, for I refuse to be under the reign of a toddler without the gift of reason or speech. I have graduated with honours from postnatal depression and I can speak fluent gibberish,’ she says.

‘This year I feel stronger and my portrait looks at the viewer with quiet resilience. There is also a starkness that reflects a new-found respect for what is important and to hell with the rest. My daughter’s effervescent happiness bursts around us like the soap bubbles we blow for her. I have never laughed so much in my life; maybe children’s television and those toys that speak have eroded my intelligence but the experience offers no end of inspiration. I feel this portrait combines the unicorn glitter and lolly-sweet haze I feel as a mother, with a backbone and an ability to say “no”.’

Born in Sydney in 1975, Stockard studied at the College of Fine Arts and now works from a studio in the Southern Highlands in New South Wales.

Listen to label text
Watch Auslan video