Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Portrait Of Julian Assange Wins The Bald Archy Prize

By Jerry Smith Apr 20 2011

A portrait of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, titled Bad Ass-Ange, and painted by 60 year old artist Xavier Ghazi, won this year’s The Bald Archy Prize.

The painting features Assange with his pants around his ankles, urinating into a red, white and blue colored top hat with stars and stripes on it.

Ghazi is extremely happy he won the $5,000 prize for the fourth time because he has had "a horrible three or four past years". Ghazi lost his teaching jobs, he lost a newspaper job, and he is going blind in his right eye.

Ghazi said that he chose Assange as a subject because he agrees with the philosophy behind WikiLeaks.

Almost calling his painting Pissing Off The Empire, Ghazi said, "Having a leak in Uncle Sam's hat is pissing off the empire."

About his painting, Ghazi said, "It's not as much about the U.S. as it is about global power and instruments of domination."

The Bald Archy, which is in its 18th year, was founded by Peter Batey, and is a parody of the Archibald Prize for portraiture, which Batey describes as "totally absurd and anarchic."

The competition features humorous works of art, usually making fun of Australian celebrities and politicians, and is judged by a cockatoo named Maude. “It was just intended for a bit of fun down and it just grew,” Batey said.

"It takes 11 galahs to judge the Archibald Prize, but only one cockatoo to judge the Bald Archy," Batey said.

Batey also said, "Appointing a cockatoo as judge is as ludicrous as having a committee judging art. How do they do it? Do they give points out of 10 for eyes, hair, lips, nose, the frame?"

Maude reportedly bobs up and down at paintings she likes, and screams obscenities at paintings she does not like.

Artists occasionally take Batey to task over some of Maude's choices. "I've discovered that there are an awful lot of artists who don't have a sense of humour," Batey said.

Click here to see some of the finalists in the Bald Archy competition.

Here is the painting that won the competition:

Here is a finalist from the competition titled Just Press Enter painted by John Skillinton:


  1. These paintings are cool.

  2. AnonymousJune 10, 2011

    Some of the other are cool as well.