Gina Rinehart gifts portrait of herself to National Gallery after not liking Vincent Namatjira artwork

Australia’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart, has donated her portrait to the National Gallery with a list of demands currently being negotiated before it can be hung.

Her unusual request comes weeks after the mining magnate hit international headlines over her dislike of a portrait of her by artist Vincent Namatjira, which is part of his collection currently on display at a Canberra gallery.

On Friday, gallery director Bree Pickering told the Senate she appreciated the board’s acceptance of a portrait of Ms Rinehart, donated by the 70-year-old.

But it may be some time before the public notices the mystery portrait after Ms Pickering revealed the gift deed comes with “certain conditions”.

“These terms are currently being negotiated, but due to these terms we have not been able to officially accept and approach the work in the collection,” said Pickering.

She declined to confirm what those negotiations were, but they were “related to the display” of the portrait.

When Senator Sarah Hanson-Young asked if it was common for people to donate their portraits with a list of conditions, Ms Pickering said it was certainly an unusual request for the gallery to try to meet.

“We don’t often accept gifts with conditions, we would often work with the artists to see how they would like their artwork displayed, but the custodian usually has no say in how the work is hung,” Ms Pickering said.

“I would say that we have not received any request to suspend the work.
“We received a gift that was accepted, and if we can officially approach the work, it will be another cultural object that we will curate in exhibitions as needed.”

Ms Pickering said she was aware Ms Rinehart was not happy with the portrait of Namatjira featuring her likeness, which will hang as part of the collection until July.

“She seems to have indicated that she doesn’t like that portrait,” Ms Pickering told Senate reviews.

Ms Hanson-Young continued her question about the donated portrait and stated that it seemed odd that there were requests attached.

“So it’s not that Gina Rinehart is obviously against her portraits because she likes it, she owns it, she wants it hung in a particular way that you have to negotiate, but obviously she doesn’t like it, that the portrait hangs in the National Gallery,” said Hanson-Young.

Ms Pickering said the gallery had also not received any requests from “swimmers” or anyone else about the donated portrait and its accompanying requests.

It comes as Swimming Queensland chief executive Kevin Hasemann helped organize a group of 20 elite swimmers who campaigned for the gallery to remove a portrait of its patron and main sponsor.

The ABC reported that since the widespread controversy over the Namatjir portrait, the number of visitors to the National Gallery has increased by 24 per cent.

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