Not surprisingly Trent Hotten's portrait of Dennis Ferguson has attracted a lot of condemnation, including from NSW Premier Kristina Keneally.
This seems fair enough. Politicians are people, too. And everyone is allowed to have an opinion in a democracy.
But the painter doesn't like the idea at all:
"But as the premier of the state, to make a comment - in a sense - that is a censorship of a piece of artwork I find is quite appalling," he told ABC News Online.
So just making a comment is censorship? Sounds like he's the one advocating censorship to me.
Another irony: The portrait is described as depicting Collins "shielding Ferguson from a media scrum". I can't see that from the photo of it here, but I presume that's because it's not showing the entire picture. So I'll take the journo's word for it.
And this characterization of their plight is completely at odds with reality. Collins has actually sought media attention for Ferguson in the past. Remember that notorious shot of him and Ferguson on Coogee Beach? Collins was the one who submitted it to the media.
And surely just posing for the Hotten's Archibald Prize entry is in itself is another cry for attention. It's a bit rich to say that Collins is Ferguson's defender. He's more like his publicity agent - and a very good one at that.
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