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.
— Ben Quilty (@BenQuilty) November 10, 2015
@BenQuilty Also a moment of pride for anyone who got to know Myuran with an eye and a heart. We miss him.— Human Rights Forum (@MyuranSukumaran) November 10, 2015
I am proud of Mr Myuran Sukumaran artist extraordinaire 💝 Well done mate 💝 Heaven's gain our loss https://t.co/o2s0dCwbku— Julie (@SalamiWatt) November 10, 2015
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."