Archibald Prize 2016. Finalists. Claudia, Spartacus and the robots


Artist: Kate Beynon

Title: Claudia, Spartacus and the robots

Medium: Acrylic on linen

Dimensions: 185 x 165 cm

Claudia Chan Shaw is co-designer for the acclaimed fashion label Vivian Chan Shaw. Perhaps most known as the co-host of the ABC series Collectors, she also hosts the radio program The dialogue and was the curator of the 2016 Chinese New Year Festival in Sydney.

In 2015, artist Kate Beynon and her mother joined the ‘art deco to art now’ cultural tour in China, led by Chan Shaw. ‘I was struck by Claudia’s distinctive style, knowledge and energy, and saw her as a contemporary art deco goddess,’ says Beynon.

‘The trip was a source of inspiration, and I wanted to reflect on our shared mixed Chinese ancestry. The qipao Claudia wears connects with our Shanghai experience and my interest in mask imagery. When I sketched her in Sydney, I was intrigued by her extensive collection of vintage toys. I wanted to portray Claudia with Spartacus (her and her husband Stewart’s Basenji) surrounded by an entourage of robots. Some I adapted: the group of astronauts became a mini self-portrait with family and I enjoyed inventing a few “creature-bots”.’

Born in Hong Kong, Beynon migrated from the UK with her family in 1974. She attended the Victorian College of the Arts, and received an Australian Postgraduate Award to undertake her PhD at Monash University. Participating in over 125 exhibitions, Beynon has been a finalist in the Sulman, Portia Geach Memorial Award and Moran Prizes, and is in the 2016 Gold Award. A six-time Archibald finalist, she was highly commended in 2010.

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