Adelaide-born Dee Smart is a self-taught artist and former actor. She says of her 2020 Archibald Prize entry: ‘The past year for me has been extraordinary on so many levels. To pay homage to the experience, I painted a self-portrait. Following a diagnosis of cancer in November with a grim prognosis, and the ensuing seven months of arduous treatment, I simply opened my heart to all that was to follow. I was never scared, not for a second – I honestly could say I’ve had a brilliant life!
‘Faced with the real possibility of not being here, what came to the fore was the question: “did I matter, and to whom?” What I discovered was just how much I was loved, personified in an army of support, family, friendship and laughter. My army surrounded me and with their love it’s been the most extraordinarily wonderful time. I wouldn’t change a thing.
‘This self-portrait is an intuitive and direct response to looking in a mirror and seeing the face I know so well ravaged by treatment – but Deo gratias! I’m here.’
This is Smart’s third time as a finalist in the Archibald Prize.