Download the story as a pdf file here: Self-Portrait with Important Personage, and door by W. M. Lewis (c) 2013
I’m a big fan of The Archibald, and have visited the wonderful Art Gallery of NSW where it’s shown whenever I can. As their website says, The Prize is “awarded annually to the best portrait, ‘preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia’”.
I’d encourage you to go to the exhibition if you can or, if not, just browse through the website for previous finalists and winners. It’s awesome stuff. For example, this portrait of one of my favourite Australian authors, Richard Flanagan, still haunts me years after seeing it in person. It was the winner that year.
With my love of The Archibald in mind, I had the idea for this story of an artist who enters a couple of portraits. I won’t say more than that for fear of ruining the story, just in case you’re one of the two or three people who read it. Imagine my shock and horror to then find out that the eligibility conditions say that “In any year, a competitor may enter one work only.” Totally ruined my idea of using The Archibald as the competition that features in the story.
So, screw it, I thought, I’ll just call it something else. But, really, I was thinking of The Archibald all along.