Monday, May 30, 2016

Nadine Stransen

I recently(late 2017) took a better photo of the finished painting to illustrate a story about Nadine's life for the ABC's upcoming 40th anniversary Mardi Gras magazine

Not quite finished the background, it'll have to wait till I'm back from the North Coast in a week or 2

Starting to get somewhere

A beginning of a portrait of Nadine Stransen. We came of age together in Newtown and the art squats of the mid late 80s. Nadine - Andrew then - was one of the founders of the Gunnery, and first of us to set foot in the building, boosted thru a ventilation duct by Norman Eatock, spring 1985.

We went to a national youth conference at the time(Year of da Yoof). Lest we heckle him on camera we 4  were excluded until Bob Hawke left the auditorium, but not as it turned out, the building. Through a mixup we found ourselves face to face with him in a lift. That conference was a lot of fun, one of the delegates mum had a list of vacant properties so with a couple of local punk girls we went down to what would become the Orphanage, and let ourselves in. Yolanda and her friend(name?) stayed on when we went home and with others, actually secured the place.

Later on Nadine was instrumental in making NSW anti-discrimination law apply to tranys and all the other marginalised communities. After the laws had passed, and been copied internationally I was living with Nadine and I painted a 2 x 2 metre portrait of Nadine for the Archibald prize, as a lawgiver, languidly posed in a modular chair, Machiavelli's princess with a anachronistic mashup of Sydney behind. If I can locate an image I'll post it later.  Unfortunately the trust didn't have the guts to hang it, nor did it make the overflow show at SH Ervin. I think it went in the Bald Archy at TAP.

Eventually I gave the painting to Nadine and she had it at her flat in Woolloomooloo. It got a bit damaged over the years, Lance Leopard had repainted the face, a slightly disastrous makeup job, and the bottom bar of stretcher and frame had been broken, but it was still there a week before she died.

There is still no final results from the inquest to support the 'natural causes/accidental' verdict put around verbally by the police. but anyway the police had charge of the flat, and the family had to rely on them to bring Nadine's artwork to the wake. They brought the paintings hanging on the walls and no more, insisted that was everything. The Housing department had used the family's grief to pressure them to sign over control of the flat, giving them the right to dispose of its contents as they saw fit, and they signed - Don't EVER do that, they can't be trusted.

In this case, after the police left I went along to the houso to try to gain access to see what artwork of mine and hers was still there, and a couple of personal effects for Nadine's lovely mum Bev, Nadine's fawn coat - she had drawing books she was working in with  pastels. I could see from the street that the flat hadn't been cleaned, unfortunately I went through official channels - they strung us along and after a couple of weeks cleaned the flat, with the responsible officer Sean Tunnicliff lying to me that there had been no other artwork there. Public tenants are held in contempt

So I want to paint a portrait or 2 to remeber Nadine, this is a start


I'm about to start a portrait of Nadine Stransen, activist, artist and friend, sorely missed since her untimely death, earlier this year. These drawings are from photos off her facebok page 

voguing - her face isn't quite right in this one

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