In August I received notification from the Newcastle Art Gallery that my painting ’Superheroes – a blank Canvas’ was selected for the 2016 Kilgour Prize for Figurative and Portraiture Painting. I was one of 35 finalists, selected from a field of more than 200 entries across Australia. I was so thrilled and excited! My painting was of my two children dressed as superheroes, painted from a photo which I took about 20 years ago.
Artist Statement Superheroes – A blank canvas
Our children are the future, they are the hope in the world. They are our little superheroes. From an early age our children embrace the belief that anything is possible and we as parents endeavour to help them achieve their goals and dreams. We encourage them to fly, to boldly go where no man, or woman, has gone before.
This painting questions many of the ideals, beliefs and roles that we place upon our children.
Are we encouraging our children to believe in an unobtainable ideal and does our society ask us to believe that we can all be gods who are physically perfect and who can fly?
Do we expect our girls to grow up to be a Super Women? Can you only achieve great things if you have blue eyes and blonde hair ?
Is it right to encourage our boys to wear a mask to hide their true identity. To be one person in the day and another in the dark. To solve all conflicts with violence and to keep secrets from their friends and family?
Are superheroes really the role models we want for our children? Yes, Superheroes are benevolent souls who do try to save ‘the people of planet earth’, but at what cost to themselves.
Which of our children will choose to be the Superheroes of tomorrow, and if they do want to grow up to be Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman or a Super Woman… Why not?? The future is theirs, it’s a blank canvas.