Kathrin Longhurst’s painting depicts her daughter Maia, but is effectively a self-portrait representing her past, present and future.
‘The overlaid, screenprinted disassembled tank references my childhood in militarised East Germany. Born in East Berlin in 1971, I grew up at the height of the Cold War. It was a time without the internet, surrounded by propaganda, and we constantly feared invasion from the “imperialist West”. I had an early introduction to socialist realism and the impressive collection of figurative realist art in the Palace of the Republic of Berlin. My portraits reflect this tradition,’ says Longhurst, who moved to Australia in 2000.
‘The tank alludes to our contemporary volatile environment: a new Cold War. But today’s experiences are shaped and intertwined with social media. While this technology offers us a chance to seek the truth and understand our shared humanity, it is a double-edged sword spreading misinformation, extremism and conspiracy theories.
‘My daughter represents my future. Her generation will inherit our planet. I am projecting my dreams and hopes onto her: she is part of me but also her own person inheriting the legacy we leave behind.’
Longhurst was a finalist in the 2012 Sulman Prize; this is her first time in the Archibald.