Gina Rinehart wants National Gallery of Australia to remove her portrait

Australia’s richest person Gina Rinehart has demanded a portrait of her be taken down from the National Gallery of Australia.

The portrait was pained by Vincent Namatjira, a renowned subversive portraitist who became the first Indigenous artist to win the Archibald prize in 2020. 

The portrait, which is clearly not one that flatters the 70-year old mining magnate, is one of several portraits unveiled at the Canberra gallery this week as part of Namatjira’s first major survey exhibition.

Last month, the billionaire directly approached the gallery’s director Nick Mitzevich and its chair, Ryan Stokes to request the portrait be removed. According to the Herald, several other complaints have been filed to the gallery from associates of her company, Hancock Prospecting. 

The gallery has rejected efforts to have the painting removed from the collection. In a statement, it said it welcomed public dialogue on its collection and displays.

“Since 1973, when the National Gallery acquired Jackson Pollock’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,” it said.

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

Rinehart is among the donors listed as a ‘friend’ of the National Gallery in the $4,999 and $9,999 category. 

Currently, the portrait of Rinehart remains hanging between portraits of football player Adam Goodes and Namatjira’s great-grandfather, Albert, who was one of Australia’s most iconic artists. 

Namatjira’s collection will be on display to the public until 21 July. Prior to Canberra, the portrait of Rinehart was show at the Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide from October last year to January 2024. 

In 2022, netball players from the Diamonds expressed their disappointment at the outcome of the Hancock Prospecting sponsorship saga, after the mining company announced it would withdraw from its $15 million sponsorship deal.

The retreat of Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting comes after Donnell Wallam – the first Indigenous woman to be selected in the Diamonds’ squad in almost 25 years – raised concerns about Hancock Prospecting’s record on Indigenous issues, to which Rinehart has never condemned. 

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