PLAYING DEAD

Macabre Portrait Wins Prize

A painting of Michael Zavros’ five-year-old daughter playing dead—entitled Phoebe Is Dead/McQueen—won Australia’s most lucrative portraiture prize. The painting show’s the artist’s daughter, Phoebe, lying still and covered in a skull-covered scarf designed by the late Alexander McQueen. The work earned Zavros, an Australian realist artist, the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, worth $150,000 Aus. Zavros noted that the macabre painting was inspired by fears for his children’s safety. “Now, as I wait for sleep in the dark of night, I am visited by visions of my children befalling some tragedy and being taken from me,” said Zavros in his artist’s statement. “This painting confronts the unthinkable as though the very act of painting it could somehow prevent it.” Zavros accepted his prize in Sydney on Tuesday.