Kevin Oxley believes Peter Slipper should choose an artist from his electorate.
Kevin Oxley believes Peter Slipper should choose an artist from his electorate. Kari Bourne

Artist urges Slipper to choose a local to paint portrait

A SUNSHINE Coast painter has called on former speaker Peter Slipper to commission an artist from his own electorate to paint his controversial portrait.

News that Mr Slipper would be immortalised in a traditional parliamentary portrait costing up to $30,000 has raised the ire of critics who say he does not deserve the honour.

Eighty-eight percent of respondents to a survey on the Sunshine Coast Daily's website said they did not think a portrait should be painted of Mr Slipper.

Former Archibald Prize finalist Kevin Oxley said Mr Slipper could do some good with the $30,000 commission available for the portrait by giving the job to a local.

"It doesn't have to be me but why wouldn't you support a local artist? He's done nothing else for the area. Here's an opportunity to redeem himself on some level," he said.

Mr Oxley, 71, of Flaxton, said he would be willing to paint the former speaker and donate two-thirds of the fee to charity, namely cancer research.

But he said there were many other artists on the Sunshine Coast, including several Archibald Prize finalists, capable of doing the job.

It is understood that Mr Slipper has come up with a shortlist of possible artists for his portrait after visiting the National Gallery.

Mr Oxley, whose painting of Professor Ian Frazer is included in the Portrait Artists Australia annual exhibition to open in Parliament House on November 2, said artists in Mr Fisher's own electorate appeared to have been snubbed.

"I feel like I've been slapped in the face with a flipper," he said.

Mr Oxley said that if a portrait had to be painted, choosing a local was a way to salvage some good out of it.

"Do the thing, get some money for the Coast, and get a positive to come out of this horrible situation," he said.

A free portrait of Mr Slipper, including a question about taxis in reference to allegations of misuse of taxi vouchers, was circulating by email yesterday.


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