Dhungutti artist Blak Douglas (Adam Douglas Hill) made history with his Archibald Prize winning portrait of fellow artist and Wiradjuri woman Karla Dickens. It’s the first time in the 101 year history of the Archibald Prize where a First Nations artist has won for a portrait of a fellow First Nations artist.

Douglas’ painting “Moby Dickens” depicts Dickens standing in the floodwaters in Lismore, holding two buckets. If there’s ever a painting to capture the environmental devastation of 2022, it’s this one.

“I’m elated to be the first New South Wales First Nations artist to win with a portrait of a New South Wales First Nations artist. It’s a major historic win,” Douglas told the Art Gallery of NSW.

“Karla is my favourite female First Nations artist, we are dear friends, we are birds of a feather when it comes to our sentiment in art, and I really admire the way she pieces together her work.”

This is only the second time a First Nations artist has won the Archibald Prize.

Western Arandra artist Vincent Namatjira won the Archibald in 2020. His portrait featured himself and footy legend Adam Goodes.

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In an interview with the ABC, Blak Douglas described the damage caused by the floods in the Northern Rivers region. He said it was “a war zone”.

“So to be able to further aid some of my dearest, closest friends up there, through this win — not only metaphorically, but also financially — it’s a big plus,” he said.

Dickens has been a finalist for the Archibald Prize seven times. He’s now won $100,000 in prize money.

If you want to sneak a peak at the portrait — and the other finalists — it’ll be on display at the Art Gallery of NSW from the 14th of May to the 28th of August.

Image: Blak Douglas / Art Gallery Of NSW / Getty / Lisa Maree Williams