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Claus Stangl L-FRESH The LION

acrylic on canvas

200 x 150 cm

Hip-hop musician Sukhdeep Singh Bhogal – better known as L-FRESH The Lion – was born and raised in south-west Sydney. ‘FRESH’ is an acronym for ‘Forever Rising Exceeding Sudden Hardships’, while ‘LION’ refers to his middle name, ‘Singh’, which is given to Sikh men to convey majestic courage.

‘L-FRESH’s music touches on issues of social justice, such as racism and equality, with the purpose of inspiring positive change,’ says Claus Stangl, who learnt more about the musician’s story when he met him, including his approach to music, his cultural background and key elements of the Sikh religion. ‘He taught me the significance of colour – how orange represents wisdom and navy blue is the colour of the warrior and of protection, which I incorporated.

‘His regal side-profile is purposely reflective of how the monarchy is represented on coins, but whereas the Queen of England faces east, L-FRESH faces west, signifying a new perspective. Showing L-FRESH without his turban made the image more intimate. Instead he’s wearing an orange-red patka, rarely seen by the public.’

Stangl was born in England in 1980 and moved to Australia in 2008. He has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Graphic Design and Advertising from Buckinghamshire New University, UK. This is his first time as an Archibald finalist.

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