Anh Do’s subject is renowned Australian artist George Gittoes. ‘I’ve always loved artists who aren’t afraid to examine the harsher side of the human condition. Goya’s paintings of conflict and Käthe Kollwitz’s depictions of sorrow are some of my favourite works of art,’ says Do.
‘This is why I admire George Gittoes. Over his 50-year career he’s been to places like Rwanda, Somalia, Bosnia and Afghanistan to draw, paint, photograph and film human suffering as well as hope and resilience.’
‘George’s face is full of hard-earned wisdom. I wanted this portrait to capture this wisdom, but also to convey George’s enormous compassion. I have embedded several Kollwitz prints into George’s face and hair to honour her and others who have chosen to make war a focus of their art.’
‘I’ve also included other prints along the bottom of the painting to represent the beauty of art. Artists like George and Käthe remind us that art can be challenging, heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time,’ says Do.
Born in Vietnam in 1977, Do is a comedian, author and artist. He was an Archibald Prize finalist in 2014 with a portrait of his father, and in 2017 won the People’s Choice award with a portrait of actor Jack Charles.