Media: My Portrait of Nail Aykan for the Archibald Prize 2019

Watch A Portrait of Nail Aykan Archibald Entry for 2019 CGopalkrishnan

Closing on 4th April 2019, Australia's Archibald Portrait Prize is judged by the NSW Art Gallery Trustees. I chose Muslim community leader Nail Aykan as my subject for my second try in 2019. I worked for him in 2017 and we have remained good friends. Until recently, he was the Executive Director of the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) for seven years. 

For many, he is one of the most relatable Muslim leaders in Australia when it comes to listening and explaining the experiences of his community. He inspires trust in people and  remains actively involved in every aspect of bridging Muslim and Non Muslim relationships in Australia. I call him the Debrett's Peerage of Muslim Australia. For us, doing the portrait together is about friendship more than anything.

This is a relatively small painting. Only a 10x12" stretched canvas. I know, it may disappear among the trend to large canvases, and Thete are over 800 entries a year (popular prize in Australia) - but it felt right. Thanks to Gary Tait for framing it in a perfectly subtle and unpretentious frame which picks up on the colours and refracts my little story of a unique individual.  

My last entry was a portrait of John Hyde MP (below), who now works for the UN building capacity in anti-corruption with governments in emerging countries. Read more here.

Listen to Nail talk about his community work

Nail speaks about his community for AMES in Melbourne 2016

Update 2 May 2019: My painting didnt make the finalsts but I'm still very satisfied with my portrait and Nail loved it, which always helps. Congratulations to all the Archibald finalists, and so glad to see more women subjects and some people of colour. We need the diversity of art in Australia to keep growing. See these articles for more on the growing arts community discussion on diversity in the art world in Australia (refs: 1,2,3,4)

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