Griffith Hack Clean & Sustainable Technologies

Climate change and the Archibald prize for portraiture by Justin Blows
March 31, 2010, 9:52 am
Filed under: Feature

The artist Giles Alexander entered The alternative ambassadors – Professors Ross Garnaut & Martin Green into the Archibald prize for portraiture.

Martin Green is a professor at the University of NSW and a prolific inventor in the area of solar PV, and Ross Garnaut is Australia’s leading climate change economist.

The alternative ambassadors (Professors Ross Garnaut & Martin Green) by Giles Alexander

I found this criticism of the work in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Giles Alexander’s The Alternative Ambassadors – a double portrait of professors Ross Garnaut and Martin Green in the garb of Hans Holbein’s The Ambassadors – is too tricksy for its own good. The centrepiece of Holbein’s work – a skull painted in anamorphic distortion – is replaced with a child, suggesting new hope rather than a memento mori. Such a cosy sentiment only serves as a reminder of the original meaning of the skulls in Old Master paintings: death puts an end to our petty vanities. The debate on climate change, as it currently stands, is cause for hubris rather than optimism.

Justin Blows


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