Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart demands National Gallery remove her portrait

Australian mining billionaire Gina Rinehart has reportedly demanded a painting of her which she deems unflattering be removed from display at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

Her portrait appears alongside many others, including Queen Elizabeth II, AFL player Adam Goodes and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, in an exhibition by acclaimed Archibald Prize-winning Indigenous artist Vincent Namatjira.

Namatjira’s work is known for his paintings that are caricatures of people in almost cartoonish like forms.

One of King Charles, for instance, shows him in the Australian desert in full regalia with seemingly no neck.

Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart has reportedly asked a portrait of her by artist Vincent Namatjira be removed from display. National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra, 2024

Nine Newspapers have reported that a dozen complaints have come into the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) about the portrait of Australia’s’ richest woman including some from athletes she sponsors through her company Hancock Prospecting.

Reportedly one accused the NGA of “doing the bidding of the Chinese Communist Party” with the portrait of Rinehart.

On the NGA website, Rinehart is listed as a “friend” of the gallery as she has donated up to $9,999 ($6,700 USD).

The NGA has refused to move the painting, which will be on display until July 21.

Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart . Getty Images

It was hung in March as part of the Vincent Namatjira: Australia in colour exhibition which features 21 pieces of his work.

“Since 1973, when the National Gallery acquired Jackson Pollack’s Blue Poles, there has been a dynamic discussion on the artistic merits of works in the national collection, and/or on display at the gallery,” the NGA said in a statement.

“We present works of art to the Australian public to inspire people to explore, experience and learn about art.”

Rinehart’s painting is featured in an exhibition of artist Vincent Namatjira’s work at the National Gallery of Australia which was previously at the Art Gallery of South Australia. National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra, 2024

In 2022, Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting firm ripped up a $15 million sponsorship deal with Netball Australia.

The furor erupted when Indigenous player Donnell Wallam was said to be uncomfortable wearing a uniform with the Hancock Prospecting logo.

Vincent Namatjira in front of his mural in the foyer of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

This was reportedly due to comments made by Rinehart’s father Lang Hancock in the 1980s. He infamously suggested in 1984 Indigenous Australians should be sterilized to “breed themselves out” in coming years.

After the unease in the team about Hancock’s involvement became public, the firm scrapped its sponsorship deal saying it did “not want to add to netball’s disunity problems”.

Rinehart’s Roy Hill company will also stop sponsoring Netball WA and team the West Coast Fever.

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