'Bali Nine' Ringleader Named GQ Artist Of The Year, Seven Months After His Execution

11/11/2015 9:46 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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SONNY TUMBELAKA via Getty Images
Australian drug smuggler Myuran Sukumaran, one of the so-called 'Bali Nine' gang, stands in front of his paintings at a prisoners studio in Kerobokan prison, Denpasar, on the Bali island on September 28, 2011. Sukumaran, who was arrested in 2005 for drug smuggling and sentenced to death, has lost his final appeal against the punishment. AFP PHOTO / SONNY TUMBELAKA (Photo credit should read SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP/Getty Images)

Convicted drug smuggler Myuran Sukumaran has been posthumously named GQ Artist of the Year, seven months after his execution in Indonesia.

Sukumaran was sentenced to death for his involvement in the Bali Nine drug trafficking ring -- of which he and Andrew Chan were deemed the ring-leaders. Both were executed by firing squad in April.

Prior to his death, Sukumaran developed a love and undisputed talent for art, creating a large body of work during his imprisonment, including many self-portraits.

The annual GQ magazine Men of the Year Awards honoured Sukumaran by announcing him Artist of the Year at a ceremony held at Merivale’s ivy Ballroom in Sydney on Tuesday night.

Archibald Prize winner Ben Quilty, who considered Sukumaran his friend and protégé, was one of many who took to Twitter to voice his thoughts on the posthumous honour.


Sukumaran's family accepted the award in his stead.


Many Australians protested against the executions of Sukumaran and Chan, asking for mercy for the pair who had demonstrated their rehabilitation through numerous ways, including teaching other prisoners English, computer, graphic design and philosophy.

Prior to the death of his friend, Quilty told RN Breakfast, "Myuran has done a horrible thing -- but that’s a long time ago".

"He’s a very quiet, very big, very well respected man in the prison. He helps run a very tight ship with his art room.

"He’s my friend. He’s a profoundly powerful person. No matter what happens, this shows the power of art, which I didn’t get until I spent time with this man on death row in Kerobokan prison."

myuran sukumaran

Myuran Sukumaran in 2013.

myuran sukumaran

The paintings and brushes of Myuran Sukumaran are seen during his funeral service at Dayspring Church, Castle Hill on May 9, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.

myuran sukumaran painting

A painting of Myuran Sukumaran's titled 'Purgatory', painted Tuesday 28th April 2015 -- the last day on which he awaits execution on Nusa Kambangan Prison Indonesia.

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