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Sarah M is a film student and sex worker. ‘I came across Sarah on Instagram, a platform she uses prolifically to advocate for sex worker rights,’ says India Mark. ‘Breaking down stigmas, prejudices, attitudes and behaviour that threaten the health, safety and professionalism of those within the industry, her online profile offers an invaluable human standpoint amidst the objectification and victimisation that remain socially prevalent today.
‘My painting aims to realise Sarah’s knowledge and confidence. I built up the surface and space of the portrait in a way that amplifies the impact of the painted human figure. She is the kind of person who can instil cultural change and I wanted to honour that.’
Born in 1993 in Gerringong, New South Wales, Mark lives and works in Thirroul. In 2017, she completed a Master of Fine Art at the National Art School and was a finalist in the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship. This is her second time in the Archibald Prize, having also been a finalist in 2016.