Archibald Prize finalist Mark Horton deserves recognition, says Troy Grant

Subject and artist: Troy Grant and Mark Horton with Mr Horton's 2016 Archibald Prize finalist "Troy" at the Western Plains Cultural Centre at the exhibition opening last Friday night. Photo: PAIGE WILLIAMS
Subject and artist: Troy Grant and Mark Horton with Mr Horton's 2016 Archibald Prize finalist "Troy" at the Western Plains Cultural Centre at the exhibition opening last Friday night. Photo: PAIGE WILLIAMS

Dubbo MP Troy Grant said it was humbling to see his portrait on the wall of the Western Plains Cultural Centre as part of the 2016 Archibald Prize exhibition.

However Mr Grant said the attention should go to artist Mark Horton, who was selected as a finalist for last year’s Archibald Prize, despite it being just his second work with acrylics.

Mr Grant said he was delighted with how the work turned out, even if he felt he was carrying a few too many kilograms in the picture.

“I’m really humbled and proud of Mark Horton, that’s my overwhelming sentiment. He’s an amazingly talented artist and I’m pleased his talent is being recognised and showcased, particularly in his hometown,” the Member for Dubbo said.

“The fact I’m the subject matter is only secondary to it and I just feel humbled he asked me to be the subject for his entry.”

The scene in the painting, of Mr Grant sitting by himself in a field with his police cap and a Catholic cross in one hand, was done very deliberately by Mr Horton.

“The reason I agreed to it was that he wanted to tell a story predominantly around my policing work into child sexual assault and demonstrate that from being a police officer I was prosecuting my faith, as he phrased it, then into politics and my advocacy for the Royal Commission and success in that area,” Mr Grant said.

“He also wanted to show where my heart is, by sitting in a wheat field in the Western Plains, to depict that I’m a country guy.

“I think he was able to capture that. It’s very powerful and very big. I thought he was not that flattering with my waistline, I thought he used too much paint there but he assures me he tried to help out.”

Mr Grant said he was blown away by it when he saw it for the first time, before it went for judging last year

During the exhibition’s opening in Dubbo, it was revealed Mr Horton has completed another work that will be entered into this year’s Archibald Prize, although the subject and details haven’t been revealed yet. Mr Grant said he was thrilled to see the artist getting recognition.

Mr Grant encouraged everyone to attend the 2016 Archibald Prize exhibition while it is on display at the Western Plains Cultural Centre until August 20. Entry is free.