In a year of ongoing global protests involving Black Lives Matter™, any artwork addressing racial inequality was always going to be popular. But the fact that Vincent Namatjira’s piece has won the 2020 Archibald Art Prize is ironically, a self-portrait of the systemic racism currently being enjoyed by — and not against — indigenous Australians.
It seems that the Art Gallery of NSW have become fully paid-up members of the wokeocracy. They’ve jumped onto the same leftist bandwagon as The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who recently introduced the following criteria to be eligible for an award:
Change starts now. We’ve announced new representation and inclusion standards for Best Picture eligibility, beginning with the 96th #Oscars. Read more here: https://t.co/qdxtlZIVKb pic.twitter.com/hR6c2jb5LM
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) September 9, 2020
Yep, that’s right, artistic talent has got nothing to do with it anymore. All that counts are how many boxes on the identity politics spectrum one can tick. As The Sydney Morning Herald’s headline breathlessly exclaimed, “It’s only taken 99 years”.
But if the overwhelming negative public reactions on the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Facebook page — as well as the comments sent in the SMH — are anything to go by, then more and more people are seeing how vacuous this approach truly is. Here are just a few:
My own son did art for the NSW Higher School Certificate. And without being biased, I can honestly say — hand-over-heart — that the quality of his artwork was clearly better. But don’t just take my word for it, judge for yourself:
Significantly, his pieces weren’t selected for Art Express — the “best of the best” — but he wasn’t surprised, let alone disappointed, because even he knew how political the judging would be.
However, let’s be clear. When a work is elevated because of the person’s racial background rather than their artistic ability, then that’s racist! And as such, the winner of this year’s Archibald competition shows just how entrenched systemic racism has truly become.