When did the Archibalds become the Marxibalds?

30 May 2021


Cultural Marxism’s long march through the institutions is well-nigh complete. Emblematic of art imitating life, the 2021 Archibald art competition is a classic example. This is evidenced not just for the works which were included as finalists, but just as importantly, those that were deemed — by our 21st century arbiters of taste — as being unworthy.

Take for instance the portrait of Jacinta Nampijinpa Price by Johannes Leak:

Jacinta Price - Archibalds

You don’t have to be a professional art critic to appreciate the skill and the power which the piece demonstrates. But what is particularly perplexing, is why Leak’s was excluded when the following artworks weren’t:


Significantly, Christopher Allen — the art critic for The Weekend Australian — gave the following explanation:

One can only assume a work as striking as this was excluded because the Trustees were afraid of implicitly raising the real questions that need to be asked about Aboriginal communities. It’s so much easier to get kudos by including some harmless Aboriginal portraits and filling up the Wynne with bland dot paintings.

Likewise, professional cartoonist Paul Zanetti wrote on social media:

Several weeks ago, when Johannes Leak stopped by for a visit, he told me he was taking a couple of weeks off to start his portrait painting for this year’s Archibald Prize. His subject is Jacinta Price.

I didn’t say what I was thinking to Johannes at the time, but I feared he would suffer the same fate as his late great dad, Bill, who year after year painted by far the most outstanding portraits amongst all the entries, but was never recognised by the elitist socialist rabble on the voting committee because Bill’s politics didn’t conform.

Johannes’s stunning entry was the hands-down winner this year.

A few weeks ago, he texted me an unfinished preview.

So much power in one painting.

The Archibalds unfortunately are no longer a portrait prize, but another sad victim of ‘progressive’ wokism, more a political expression than a recognition of the best artistic skills.

Johannes has inherited his brilliant father’s genius. Bill was the best artist to never win an Archibald, a prize in itself.

The Archibalds no longer have any artistic currency.

On a deeper level, what is missing in so much of today’s art is the goal of what Roger Scruton argue is, ‘reclaiming beauty’. In other words, beauty is that transcendent virtue which reflects the truth and goodness of the universe implanted in us by our Creator. But having largely abandoned any such belief for atheistic materialism, this is why we now have artworks which look primitive and childish. Scruton develops his argument even further here in a feature-length documentary for the BBC, which is worth watching in full.


But maybe it is time for conservatives in particular to reclaim the arts. To invest in their own art competitions to promote works of enduring value. For the answer to cancel culture has to be courage. Courage to create and reflect that which is true, good and ultimately, beautiful.

[Photo by russn on Unsplash]


We need your help. The continued existence of the Daily Declaration depends on the generosity of readers like you. Donate now. The Daily Declaration is committed to keeping our site free of advertising so we can stay independent and continue to stand for the truth.

Fake news and big-tech censorship make the work of the Canberra Declaration and our Christian news site the Daily Declaration more important than ever. Take a stand for family, faith, freedom, life, and truth. Support us as we shine a light in the darkness. Donate today.


Leave A Comment

Recent Articles

  • 17 August 2022

    0.6 MINS

    The Restoring Territory Rights Bill, which plans to overturn the 25-year-old ban on euthanasia legislation in the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory, was passed in the House of Representatives on Wednesday 3 August, 99 votes to 37. The private member's bill was briefly debated [...]

  • 16 August 2022

    4.2 MINS

    Understanding why transgenderism dominates the culture wars. Jesus answered, “The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.” “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. Then Pilate took Jesus and had [...]

  • 16 August 2022

    1.1 MINS

    Victorian MP Fiona Patten is pushing a new bill that aims to take away the rights of publicly funded hospitals with religious affiliations to refuse to perform abortions and euthanasia. The state’s current laws allow women to access an abortion up to 24 weeks into [...]

  • 15 August 2022

    2.5 MINS

    Do you think you can find a Coles staff member to scan your groceries after 8pm? If only they did acknowledgement of customer as well as they do Acknowledgement of Country! It was revealed last week that Coles supermarkets now print an Acknowledgment of Country [...]

  • 12 August 2022

    2.8 MINS

    Editor's Note: Writing in News Weekly, former President of the National Civic Council Peter Westmore points out the erroneous claims made by the Minister for the Environment which will infect national policy, further eroding our agricultural and fishing industries. ___ Unveiling the “State of the [...]

  • 12 August 2022

    3.7 MINS

    Secular attempts to force inclusivity upon everyone are anything but inclusive. Why is this so? Let us examine the underlying assumptions of this totalitarian worldview. Inclusivity has become a hot topic of conversation since the Manly Sea Eagles Pride Jersey Saga. The Manly NRL club [...]

  • 11 August 2022

    4.4 MINS

    We are in a profound spiritual battle, beset by culture wars. Are you with your compatriots in the fray, or missing from the battlefield? The term ‘missing in action’ is of course a military one: when a soldier, during, or in the wake of a [...]