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James Powditch Kerry O’Brien – all along the watch tower

acrylic on paper and board

173 x 244 cm

‘Journalism at its best is an ethical profession truly dedicated to the public good. At a time when trust in public institutions is such a scarce commodity, the vigilance of good journalists is in short supply. And Kerry O’Brien is definitely one of the good ones. As a six-time Walkley Award–winner and influential ABC broadcaster, I can think of no journalist who has made a greater contribution to our political discourse,’ says James Powditch.

Born in Sydney in 1966, Powditch becomes a seven-time Archibald finalist with his portrait of O’Brien.

‘Over the phone and in person, I interviewed the interviewer and was struck by his warmth, humour and, not surprisingly, his encyclopedic recollections of politics and its players. What resonated was his passion for fairness and social justice and his disdain for lies, hypocrisy and those who abuse power. Yet, for a journalist, the personal should never set the agenda and I imagined that would sometimes be an extremely hard line to hold. A dual portrait evolved reflecting that inner conflict and a man bearing honest witness to the history of his times.’

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