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‘My portraits often feature imagery of guardian creatures and kindred spirits,’ says Kate Beynon of her work. ‘Here I appear with Tudo, my family’s 13-year-old rescue Staffy-cross. Tudo and I were both born in the Year of the Dog and can be festive and exuberant, but also serious and melancholic.
‘The robe is a painted soft-sculptural costume work made earlier in 2020, which I feel has a character and spirit of its own. I was also inspired by botanical and anatomical imagery, and have drawn on stories and symbols from my Malaysian-Chinese/Welsh ancestry and the surrealist painter Remedios Varo Uranga. Gold-green eyes are intended as a protective charm.
‘The portrait evolved during Melbourne’s second lockdown – a strange and anxious time, juggling studio with online teaching and family “iso-life”.’
Born in Hong Kong in 1970, Beynon arrived in Australia in 1974. She has a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Victorian College of the Arts and a PhD in Fine Art from Monash University. This is her eighth time as a finalist in the Archibald Prize.