Christine Anu AKA Samu

TITLE: Samu (Christine Anu)
MEDIUM: Synthetic polymer on canvas
SIZE: 180 x 180cm

I’ve known Chrissy for near a decade now and have had the immeasurable honour of not only observing her powerful presence on stage from close proximity but also standing aside her accompanying in performance. Following my successful Archibald Prize entry 2015, I decided to strategise a gender balance in my subjects and so I chose Chrissy for 2016.

Despite not being successful in being selected, the experience of sitting with her at her gorgeous home on the South coast of Sydney was more than celebratory.

‘Samu’ is her totem, the Cassowary form the Northern part of the continent and of course the ‘Torres Strait’ from where she originates. This portrait was to be all about that hair Christine possesses. Almost like her own universe that sits atop her head and I saw this as the dominant feature. So within this I’ve included several layers of Cassowary footprints which add to that depth and body of a type of hair that many could only wish they possessed.