"I paint the world as I see it."

Brush Strokes

In a shining example of the Streisand Effect, CNN reports that a powerful mining magnate has been trying to get an unflattering portrait of her removed from a museum — driving more attention to the painting than it ever would have picked up otherwise.

The tycoon in question, Gine Rinehart, is the executive chairman of Hancock Prospecting — an outfit her father started — and currently the richest person in Australia, with an estimated net worth north of $30 billion.

Important context here: Rinehart's dad was an outspoken racist about Australia's indigenous population, who he suggested sterilizing and forcibly relocating. Then, back in 2022, the younger Rinehart declined to apologize for those appalling remarks.

So it's worth pointing out that the portrait in question is by Vincent Namatjira, an indigenous artist who included Rinehart's likeness in a collection now on display at the National Gallery of Australia.

"I paint the world as I see it," he said in a statement. "People don’t have to like my paintings, but I hope they take the time to look and think, ‘why has this Aboriginal bloke painted these powerful people? What is he trying to say?’"


Art Pop

The museum and art advocacy organizations are also pushing back against Rinehart's attempts to get the painting removed.

"Since 1973, when the National Gallery acquired Jackson Pollocks’ Blue Poles, there has been a dynamic discussion on the artistic merits of works in the national collection, and/or on display at the Gallery," the National Gallery said. "We present works of art to the Australian public to inspire people to explore, experience and learn about art."

"While Rinehart has the right to express her opinions about the work, she does not have the authority to pressure the gallery into withdrawing the painting simply because she dislikes it," National Association for the Visual Arts executive director Penelope Benton told Australia's 9News. "Freedom of expression is a universal human right highly valued by artists."

More on mining: Experts Warn Against Strip Mining the Moon

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