“Big Boys Toys” Portrait of Premier Mike Rann AC, CNZM – Oil on canvas by Avril Thomas
This painting was undertaken as an entry for the Archibald. The Archibald Prize is an Australian portraiture art prize, generally seen as the most prestigious portrait prize in Australia.
The subject must be Nationally or Internationally known in the Arts, Politics or Science. The work painted in Australia preceding the date of the exhibition.
Must be a portrait painted from life, with the subject known to the artist, aware of the artist’s intention and having at least one live sitting with the artist.
Must NOT exceed the size limit of 90,000 square cm (eg 3 × 3 m, 1.5 × 6 m)
Avril Thomas met Former Premier Mike Rann AC, CNZM during the unveiling of her portrait of Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC, CVO, MBE, Commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.
At the time Rann was the leader of the South Australian Branch of the Labor Party and third longest serving Premier of South Australia. He served a record 17 years as South Australian Labor parliamentary leader from 1994 to 2011. While Premier, he was also Minister for Economic Development, Minister for the Arts, Education minister. Australia’s first Minister for Social Inclusion and Minister for Climate Change.
Sittings for his portrait took place in the State Administration building on Victoria Square in Adelaide South Australia.
His portrait includes the magnificent southerly view of Adelaide from his office. (In his office he had little replicas of boats, planes, his mother used to build Spitfires when the Rann family lived in Kent during the WWII “blitz”- Binoculars from his father) The other items of interests in the painting speak of overseas trade. Mining, Ship building. There’s a little Hindu sculpture given to him as a gift and an eyeball used as décor from a previous Adelaide Festival.. and because environment – a gum tree.
The portrait was unveiled at Avril Thomas Studio at the time in Eden Hills now at Magpie Springs
Avril Thomas submissions to the Archibald have included portraits of
Mike Tyler AO – “The Frog Man” – Oil on Canvas
Alexander Downer AC – “Minister from Down Under”
Dr Joe Verco – “Perpetual Optimism”
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Images inspired by Magpie Springs – photography by Avril Thomas – prints available online