Political scandals, debates and elections have been in the news for months, both in Canada and in the US. But for Canadians, this week marks a history making moment with a new government, and a young new prime minister, who happens to come from Canadian political royalty. His father was Pierre Trudeau, Canada’s 15th Prime Minister from 1968 to 1979 and again from 1980 to 1984.
At the urging of several people, I created this portrait of our new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. In planning this composition I wanted to make sure I stuck to some of the rules of a good political portrait but at the same time try to capture not only his image but his character and his background.
I wanted to portray him relaxed, suave and confident, in a way, channelling his father’s aura. His sleeves are rolled up and he’s ready to get to work. The wooden base that I used is painted with a Harlequin checkered pattern. This is a nod to Justin’s theatrical background, but also the theatrics of politics. The Harlequin role is that of a light-hearted, nimble and astute servant. It goes without saying that a political life requires a thick skin and a commitment to serving the people of this country. Eventually Harlequin develops into a prototype of the romantic hero, and I feel that represents Justin as well. I read somewhere that Canada is the only country whose leader looks like a Disney Prince. One last thing I wanted to show in this portrait is Justin as a husband and father. A big part of Justin’s appeal is his wife Sofie. She is ready to take on the role of Canada’s First lady, and she’s going to be awesome in this role, but they are both aware of the toll political life can take on relationships and family. So instead of raising his left hand in victory or waving, his hand is protected in his pocket, and his wedding band is clearly visible.
Well, that’s the thought process behind this portrait, and I’m very proud of how it turned out, but photos don’t always do justice to a sculpture. I hope you’ll drop by the Orange Art Gallery to see him in person. The Orange Art Gallery is located at 291 City Centre Drive in Ottawa (off Albert Street – one block west of Preston Street).