Tony Abbott
(Image: Twitter)

While some in artistic circles were surprised by Tony Abbott’s choice of cartoonist Johannes Leak to paint his prime ministerial portrait, the rest of the nation just sighed. Culture wars are waged on many battlefields and portraiture is but another.

But this was a missed opportunity to shine a light on any number of artists while still giving Australians a vision of Abbott they’ll never forget.

Here are a few of Crikey’s suggestions for a portrait artist.

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Rolf Harris

Artist: Rolf Harris (Australia, Britain, old chokey).
Media: wobble board.
Pros: a shared passion for being British rather than Australian.
Cons: well-adjusted citizens may be obliged to avoid the parliamentary gallery.

A portrait by Jason Mercier

Artist: Jason Mercier (US).
Media: portraits made from prescription pain killers.
Pros: Abbott was once health minister?
Cons: could reinforce the Abbott = pain paradigm.

A mural by Scott Marsh

Artist: Scott Marsh (Australia).
Media: pub walls, spray cans, bolt-cutters.
Pros: instant media attention; artist has painted subject before (see above).
Cons: possibly too large for hanging space. May become graffiti magnet for Shire lads.

Artist: Milo Moiré (Switzerland).
Media: paint-filled “PlopEggs” artistically discharged from vaginal canal directly on to canvas.
Pros: demonstrates support for Australia’s struggling egg industry. Directly challenges the widely held idea that Abbott has a so-called “woman problem”.
Cons: Piers Akerman already has one.

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Crikey is an independent Australian-owned and run outfit. It doesn’t enjoy the vast resources of the country’s main media organisations. We take seriously our responsibility to bear witness.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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