SYDNEY councillor and marriage equality advocate Christine Forster has been immortalised in art not once, but twice, with two portrayals of the politician entered into the annual Archibald portrait prize.

Forster said the pictures, both of which also feature her fiancée Virginia Edwards, were “statements in support of marriage equality.”

The Liberal Party councillor is not the only LGBTI supporter vying for wall space in the Art Gallery of NSW with Shelly Argent, the former national spokesperson of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, also the subject of an Archibald entry.

Forster and Edwards sat for artists Robyn Ross and Perry Westwood.

“Virginia and I were really honoured to be approached to sit for these two hugely talented Sydney artists,” Forster said.

“I know that both Robyn and Perry were motivated to paint us because they wanted to make their own statements in support of marriage equality.

“Their paintings are very different but are both incredibly powerful portrayals of the love Virginia and I have for each other and our desire to be able to marry here in Australia.”

Ross, who has also completed portraits for figures as diverse as Bette Midler and David Koch, said: “When I met Christine and Virginia, I was struck by the obvious connection between them, and I kept asking myself, ‘why can’t these two women be married?’

Perry Westwood said his painting’s message was “raw and heartfelt.”

“I really wanted to create a piece that captured the joy and energy in Christine and Virginia’s relationship and the way they engage with others,” he said.

Forster and Edwards got engaged in the western NSW town of Broken Hill last October.

At the time Forster acknowledged, “it might be a long engagement”.

Despite the opposition of her brother, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, to same sex marriage, Forster said of the wedding: “Tony and Margie will definitely be there.”

The Archibald Prize finalists will be announced shortly with those selected going on display at Sydney’s Art Gallery of NSW from July 19.



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