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In a remarkable feat of creativity and perseverance, artist Shaun Gladwell has successfully painted a portrait of Julian Assange despite the latter’s imprisonment. The painting, titled “A spangled symbolist portrait of Julian Assange floating reflection,” was recently announced as one of the 57 finalists for the prestigious Archibald Prize.

Gladwell managed to complete this portrait through a covert process that involved a visit to Belmarsh Prison in London, where Assange is being held. To circumvent the stringent security restrictions, Gladwell employed a variety of unconventional techniques. He used a banknote, melted chocolate, and other innovative methods to sketch Assange during his visit, ensuring the creation of an authentic and meaningful portrait.

The finished work is rich with symbolic elements. It depicts Assange with an American flag taped over his mouth, a peace symbol on his forehead, and a hot air balloon floating nearby, all of which serve to underscore the themes of censorship, peace, and freedom.

Gladwell submitted the portrait for the Archibald Prize as a protest against what he views as the political persecution and illegal incarceration of Assange. The timing of this submission is particularly poignant, coinciding with Assange’s ongoing legal battles for extradition. Through his art, Gladwell expresses profound admiration for Assange’s unwavering courage in his pursuit of truth, despite the formidable challenges he faces.


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Article Title: Archibald finalist Shaun Gladwell went to extraordinary lengths to paint Julian Assange
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