Lighthouse is making its way to the Art Gallery of NSW for the Archibald Prize thanks to a portrait painting of our founder, Susan Barton AM, completed by Fedor Dokumentov. Fedor, a foster carer with a connection to Lighthouse, felt so inspired by the work Susan has done to help children and carers across Australia that he chose to create this piece, titled ‘Light Prevails’ to promote the work Lighthouse does to help end youth homelessness. The name ‘Light Prevails’ is derived from a Gandhi quote and is based on the belief that people are good at their core and light will always win in the battle with darkness, and this belief helps to overcome hard times.
Originally from Russia, Fedor learnt to paint as a child and spent six years at the Design Academy in St Petersburg refining his craft. During her time sitting for the portrait, Susan imagined what it would be like to leave your country of birth, come to Australia and have to begin again, often having to leave behind individual talents and skills to make a living.
“I thought a lot about our vulnerable young people, and people like Fedor who have had to leave home, re-establish a new home and make new connections, and I know the trauma of that.”
When asked about the process of being painted, Susan describes it as meditative and being able to feel the essence and vulnerability of each other. The painting uses oil and acrylic on canvas, and Fedor describes it as being painted in a realistic manner with a flavour of romanticism.
“The background is symbolic – the left-hand side is dark and stormy, representing the challenges and hard times that homeless young people face, while the right-hand side represents the prospect of a brighter future. This is what Lighthouse Foundation and Susan give all their energy for”.
By submitting this magnificent work into the Archibald Prize, we hope to promote the work that Susan, Lighthouse and our generous community do to work towards our vision of ending youth homelessness, together, and how much more community support is vitally needed to achieve this.
“We should never have homelessness in this lucky country. It saddens me to the core, which comes through in Fedor’s painting of me. I am saddened that we as a civil society don’t have a policy and a will to end youth homelessness. So hopefully this painting shines a light on the blight of child homelessness, bringing it back into the spotlight. In his painting, the background shows a darkness moving with hope into the light. That was very intentional by him.”
We are so proud to be part of this prestigious art submission and so thankful to Fedor for his time and dedication to painting this piece.