Avril Thomas originally painted this portrait as an entry to the Archibald. It was fortuitous it wasn’t selected. Adelaide University School of Medicine had also just commissioned Avril Thomas to paint 59 portraits for its 125th Celebrations. Basil Hetzel AC having achieved worldwide recognition for his discovery and work. The painting needed to come back from Sydney pronto to be part of the exhibition “A Day in the Life of Medicine.
He first sat for his portrait in his lounge, but after Avril Thomas read his book about his life, it was clear a portrait of such a great man had to speak of his accomplishments. In March 2004, the National Trust named Dr Hetzel as one of Australia’s National Living Treasures. His book is a facinating read.
As a Medical Researcher Hetzel had worked in remote areas of Papua New Guinea. His discovery – Iodine Deficiency Disorder. Iodine deficiency occurs when the soil is poor in iodine, This illness he discovered was entirely preventable and became an international advocate for iodine supplementation. As a result many countries have now legislated that salt for human and animal consumption must be iodised.
The images in the background demonstrate Iodine deficiency disorder – enlargement of the thyroid – goiter, hypothyroidism, intellectual disabilities, dwarfism. He is holding the simplest and easiest way to deliver iodine – salt. The scales have the chemical symbol for iodine – the balance – brain disorders v the globe, showing countries most affected. He is wearing the tie with the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders logo. The portrait is called the “Remedy”
The University of South Australia has a building named after him. On his 90th birthday they held a party, with images outlining his career and life. A copy of this painting was made for the occasion and I believe is still at the University.
The original is now at the Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research a laboratory for epidemiological and clinical research – (Read More – news from the Adelaidean University of Adelaide)
Portrait of Basil Hetzel “The Remedy” was unveiled at The Basil Hetzel Institute for
Translational Health Research. This painting featured several times throughout the 2010 Research Report