Reg Richard­son AM 2014 by Mitch Cairns oil on linen Pur­chased 2015

The Saturday Paper - - News -

Reg Richard­son AM, char­ity fundraiser, left school at fif­teen for an of­fice job with the Zinc Cor­po­ra­tion mine. He worked for a time with trans­port com­pany TNT, where he met Greg Poche, be­fore both men were fired. Poche went on to found Star­track Ex­press, and be­come one of Aus­tralia's wealth­i­est men. Richard­son be­came in­volved with di­verse busi­nesses, in­clud­ing in­for­ma­tion stor­age and man­age­ment, ser­vice in­dus­tries, whole­sale phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal dis­tri­bu­tion, prop­erty de­vel­op­ment and in­vest­ment. Hav­ing per­suaded Poche to do­nate $40 mil­lion to­ward a pur­pose-built fa­cil­ity for melanoma re­search, Reg Richard­son was ap­pointe the chair­man of the Melanoma In­sti­tute Aus­tralia in 2007. Richard­son fur­ther en­cour­aged Poche to do­nate $10 mil­lion for the es­tab­lish­ment of the Poche Cen­tre for In­dege­nous Health at the Univer­sity of Syd­ney; to­gether the two men founded the Poche In­dige­nous Health Net­work, with re­search units at Flin­ders, Mel­bourne, West­ern Aus­tralia and Queens­land uni­ver­si­ties. A life­long Catholic and sup­porter of the South Syd­ney Rab­bitohs, Richard­son is also a very sig­nif­i­cant art col­lec­tor. His own char­i­ta­ble con­tri­bu­tions, com­bined with those he has coaxed from oth­ers, com­prise some $130 mil­lion for the pub­lic good; now, Richard­son's pas­sion is en­cour­ag­ing well-to-do Aus­tralians to fol­low his phil­an­thropic lead.

Mitch Cairns, painter and car­toon­ist, com­pleted his un­der­grad­u­ate study at the Na­tional Art School, Syd­ney in 2006, half­way through his three years as stu­dio as­sis­tant to the late Adam Cullen. Im­me­di­ately af­ter grad­u­a­tion he be­gan par­tic­i­pat­ing in group shows in Tas­ma­nia, Syd­ney and Mel­bourne; soon, he co-founded an artist-run space, The Cos­mic Bat­tle for Your Heart, which op­er­ated from 2009 to 2011. Cairns' awards in­clude the Brett White­ley Trav­el­ing Art Schol­ar­ship, which in­cluded a res­i­dency at the Cite in­ter­na­tionale des arts, Paris in 2013, and he has been a fi­nal­ist in many lead­ing art prizes. He was named the Archibald run­ner-up in both 2014 and 2015, first with this por­trait of Richard­son and se­condly with a por­trait of artist Peter Powditch. In 2017 he won the prize with a por­trait of his part­ner Agatha Gothe-Snape.

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