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Caroline Zilinsky and John Feitelson

Caroline Zilinsky and John Feitelson
Video: 1 minute 39 seconds

- Can you just tell us why you chose John and how the portrait came to be?

- John is a very unique character so I really wanted to capture that uniqueness. And every time we meet, he's come up with like multiple schemes and ideas and, you know, very vivid imagination. I wanted to capture his vulnerability and therefore I disrobed him for the painting.

- I'm Caroline's muse and I've met her a few years ago and we've had lots of fun together and she asked to paint my portrait. I sat down and she said, "Could you take your shirt off?" I said, "Yes." She said, "Do you wanna take your trousers off?" I said, "No." And she just did it.

- With the carpet, it's like a garden surrounding the menorah, 'cause John is Jewish. So that signifies his Jewish faith, but also like the flowering garden of all his harebrained ideas.

- Thanks for that. Yeah. But also we've often like had conversations about, you know, that we've both had the opportunity to live sort of two lives in one lifetime. So I called it "Man with Two Lives." And, yeah, the empty chair sort of represents, you know, like the jabbling of a person and you know, the opportunity, you know, to move from one to another type of being. And I think that's something we have in common that we've both talked about and experienced.

Video transcript
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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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