Dhungutti artist Blak Douglas (Adam Douglas Hill) has made history with his Archibald Prize-winning portrait of fellow artist and Wiradjuri woman Karla Dickens.

It is the only the second time in the history of the Archibald that an Aboriginal sitter, painted by an Aboriginal artist, has won the prize following Vincent Namatjira’s winning portrait of AFL player Adam Goodes in 2020. Blak Douglas has been an Archibald Prize finalist on 5 other occasions, and is the second Aboriginal artist to win the Archibald Prize in 101 years. 

Wiradjuri woman Karla Dickens was recently named one of nine artists commissioned for the opening of Sydney Modern. It is the first time a portrait of an Aboriginal woman has won the prize.

‘This painting represents 20 years of taking the risk, of pursuing the dream of surrendering normalised employment … to proudly represent a legion of creatives, to consistently be dealt the rough end of the stick in the industry. That may change with a change of government, perhaps?’ commented Blak Douglas.

Douglas spoke of the strength of the women in his family, and also thanked his artist colleagues and gallery fraternity family for helping him out and supporting his ‘sticky practice’.

In a formal statement, Dickens said the painting ‘not only has an incredible likeness to me and my mood in the last three months, but this killer work pays homage to each and every person who has found themselves knee-deep in mud, physically, emotionally, mentally and financially after the natural disaster that has destroyed so many lives in the Northern Rivers of NSW and beyond.’

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Image: Winner Archibald Prize 2022, Blak Douglas Moby Dickens, synthetic polymer paint on linen, 300 x 200 cm