I made this portrait of Arne Rubinstein for the Northern Rivers Portrait Prize. It and 59 other portraits are showing at Lismore Regional Gallery until July 15. A magnificent portrait by Rene Bolten won the main prize.
I don't often draw using a photorealist technique, but I was working like this while researching and planning the portrait and it struck me that there was something interesting in the way the two cropped images related to one another and I decided to run with this as the final work.
The following text I submitted as an artist's statement to the Gallery:
Dr Arne Rubinstein is a medical doctor at Mullumbimby Hospital and is Director of Uplifting Australia. The organisation runs rite-of-passage programs for boys and girls aged between 12 and 15 to honour the transition from child to young adult. Arne has worked with young people for over 30 years and was the founding CEO of the Pathways Foundation.
"Uplifting Australia programs can:
• Build strong family and community relationships
• Bring out the best in kids
• Inspire them for the future
• Create appropriate Rites of Passage
• Promote healthy self-esteem in teenage boys and girls
• Acknowledge the individual gifts and talents of each boy and girl
• Setup ongoing mentoring and support networks"
(Excerpt from The Australian Rites of Passage website)
For this portrait I wanted to portray as simply as possible Arne's character and also the Rites of Passage Program. Teepees are used as accommodation during the camps and are a powerful symbol of cultures that have always used rites of passage and ceremony to help boys and girls transition to adulthood.
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