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Genre: Historical Fiction
When two artists enter the 1943 Archibald Prize, a scandal erupts that grips not only the art world, but the nation. A poignant love story with shattering consequences, inspired by real-life events.
‘Is that what you want to do? Peer into my soul and capture my flaws, for all to see?’
As World War II draws to a close, Australian society is still deeply conservative. Homosexuality is illegal and the scourge of Modernism is infecting Australian art.
When William Dobell paints a portrait of lover and fellow artist Joshua Smith, he is awarded Australia’s most prestigious art prize. However, Dobell’s celebration is cut short after a protest is lodged by his competitors, who claim the painting is a caricature. Both artist and sitter soon find themselves in the glare of the spotlight when a court case to determine the matter turns into a public spectacle.
Bill and Joshua’s relationship is put under pressure and at risk of being exposed as they are caught in a world where they must choose between love and art: between acceptance and exile.