Pigment inkjet on cotton rag, 112cm x 78cm, Edition of 9, (2AP)
Since 2008, every year I have taken an “official” annual portrait photograph of Matthew Mitcham, Australia’s gold-medal Olympic diver, award-winning cabaret performer and television entertainer, in my studio in Sydney.
Facing the camera with a direct, unflinching manner, each consecutive portrait is added to the growing series of similar portraits, which commenced when Matthew was only 20 years old, before his rise to Olympic fame.
Each portrait is taken under similar conditions, plotting the changes in his physical appearance and growing self-assurance. This particular 2020 portrait marks a bumpy year for all of us, facing the pandemic. It is only fitting Matthew is masked and “Covid-safe” for this one. MMXX marks the 13th portrait and the 13th year in this ongoing series.
I thank Matt for his support in continuing this series, in allowing a very public view of his “personal time-line”. Matt married Luke just over a year ago in Belgium I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to photograph their wedding (see blog post: Matthew Mitcham Marries). They spent a good part of 2020 here in Australia but only a few days ago Matt and Luke have left our shores for the UK.
Meadowbank TAFE is expanding. Hansen Yuncken are responsible for the construction of the new facilities and at the start of the building project a smoking ceremony was performed in accordance with Aboriginal customs, respecting the traditional owners of the land, the Walumedigal people of the Eora Nation.
Hansen Yuncken executives participated in the ceremony together with representatives of TAFE, the architects, local politicians and others. I managed to capture of few shots of various employees at the site office.
Our friend Rebecca Wilson – artist, writer and gold miner – has spent more than a decade researching the troubled life Ned Kelly’s (famous Australian bushranger) younger sister Kate.
Her 400 page biography has just been published by Allen & Unwin and we attended the book launch at the Gang Gang Gallery in Lithgow in mid February.
At the same time the Gang Gang Gallery exhibited a series of narrative paintings and story cards based on Rebecca’s ongoing investigation into Kate Kelly’s colourful story.
Concurrently Rebecca’s solo exhibition, Myth Making Heroes and Villains, at BRAG (Bathurst Regional Art Gallery) looks at stories and legends from central NSW, featuring some of the more forgotten characters of Australia’s colonial past.
Prior to Saturday’s official Mardi Gras Parade at the Sydney Cricket Ground, a grass roots protest march made its way along the traditional route down Oxford Street.
In 1978 the first Mardi Gras was primarily a protest for gay and lesbian rights with the involvement of the transgender and Aboriginal communities. Yesterday’s protest shows that there is still more work to be done in respect to homophobia, transphobia, mandatory detention of refugees, indigenous rights, decriminalisation of sex work and heavy handed treatment by police.
The spirit of protest, vigilance and social change is at the core of Mardi Gras but it is still a time for celebration and dressing up.
One of my favourite placards carried by a protester was: “The only good cop is a stripper in uniform”
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2021 is on the doorstep. Although there won’t be a dance party or street parade this year, there will still be a stadium event (with puppets) at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Best of all, for anybody able to travel, throughout the terminals at Sydney Airport my rainbow portrait of Amelia Airhead (longtime diva and drag royalty) is featured as a colourful reminder that Mardi Gras has arrived.
Along with my fashion images printed on billboards several years ago in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, these portraits of Amelia in Sydney are now the largest reproductions of any of my images.