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Kim Leutwyler’s subject is Faustina Agolley, a Ghanaian-Chinese, openly queer actor, broadcaster, television producer, writer and DJ.
‘I was instantly drawn to Faustina because of the strength of her convictions and her appetite for knowledge and self-development. She’s overcome depression and anxiety stemming from trauma and homophobia to rebuild her life through her creative pursuits,’ says Leutwyler.
‘In historical art, women of colour are often erased or, when seen, reduced to tropes as opposed to the individuals they are/were. Queer women have largely been left out altogether. Representation of queer women of colour on the walls of our cultural institutions matters.’
‘In this portrait of Faustina, I explore the boundaries between realism and abstraction to highlight the layers and complexity of identity. My hope is that this portrait will spark dialogue and action, and help raise the profile of women of colour in the arts by amplifying voices and diversifying representation.’
Born in the United States in 1984, Leutwyler migrated to Australia in 2012 and is now based in Sydney. Her current body of work features paintings that explore notions of beauty, gender and queer identity. She was a finalist in the Archibald Prize in 2015 and 2017 and in the Sulman Prize in 2017.