Artist gets sub­jects to open up

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television Free To Air - Anh’s Brush with Fame,

You won’t find two bet­ter-loved Aus­tralian en­ter­tain­ers than Anh Do and Jes­sica Mauboy.

This ter­rific se­ries re­turns with an­other 10 episodes, wherein Do — co­me­dian, ac­tor, best­selling au­thor and one-time fine arts student at TAFE — acts si­mul­ta­ne­ously as in­ter­viewer and por­traitist.

He has to draw bi­o­graph­i­cal sto­ries out of his sub­ject while cap­tur­ing their essence on can­vas — nei­ther of which is an easy thing to do.

As it turns out, Mauboy and Do have quite a few things in com­mon, in par­tic­u­lar the hard­ships that fea­tured in their up­bring­ings.

Mauboy tells a story about Cathy Freeman vis­it­ing her school, which in­spired her to pur­sue her dream of sing­ing; Do sug­gests that there will be many young girls whom Mauboy has sim­i­larly in­spired. Mauboy starts to tear up, and you might too.

But it’s not all se­ri­ous. Mauboy ad­mits to Anh’s Brush with Fame sing­ing along with tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials while grow­ing up in Dar­win — she even sings a jin­gle about cor­ru­gated iron.

I spoke to Do a few years ago about his paint­ing, af­ter he be­came an Archibald Prize fi­nal­ist with his por­trait of his fa­ther, Tam, and just ahead of his first solo ex­hi­bi­tion at Syd­ney’s Olsen Ir­win Gallery. The most mem­o­rable answer for me was when I asked if he’d ever painted any self-por­traits, the sine qua non of self-knowl­edge.

“Yes, but I haven’t shown any­one,” he told me. “I look in the mir­ror and paint my­self and usu­ally get dis­tracted. I have never re­ally completed one ac­tu­ally … isn’t that in­ter­est­ing?”

At the end of each episode, he presents the completed por­trait to the sub­ject. Fu­ture episodes fea­ture Rosie Batty, Blue Wig­gle An­thony Field, Me­gan Gale and oth­ers. Wed­nes­day, 8pm, ABC.

Singer, song­writer and ac­tress Jes­sica Mauboy is Anh Do’s guest in

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