Barry Humphries-Dame Edna Everage by Derek Kosbab
I painted this portrait in 1977. It shows Barry Humphries, dapper in a double-breasted suit-jacket combined with the impression of a skirt. At the top, Barry peeks from the background wearing a hat at a rakish angle and the famous Dame Edna glasses.
Unfortunately, my poor photography has the flash washing out the colour in the middle of the picture. My brother Brian has recommended that I take the pictures outside and photograph them without the need for flash. However, this picture is screwed to my lounge-room wall. So, the wash-out remains.
During 1977 while I was on holiday in Bali, Barry Humphries arranged to film a television commercial in the dance studio where I was employed. My girlfriend at the time, Gill, removed the picture from the lounge-room wall in my city apartment and took it the dance studio. At an appropriate moment during the filming of the commercial, Gill showed Barry Humphries the painting with the comment ‘my friend Derek painted this portrait of you.’ Barry Humphries looked at the picture for a moment and responded with ‘apparently your friend didn’t know what to do on this side of the picture.’ Barry was referring to the blank two-thirds of the picture to the right-hand side of the portrait. With that comment, Barry took a texta-pen and signed his name and date across the vacant space.
Therefore, I have, perhaps, the largest Barry Humphries signature in the world, on my picture in my lounge-room. Good huh?