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A portrait of Australian mining mogul Gina Rinehart by Indigenous artist Vincent Namatjira has caused controversy and sparked a discussion about creative expression and public figure portrayals.

The image of Rinehart, which is currently hanging in the National Gallery of Australia, has drawn criticism from Olympic swimmers and their governing organization, who labeled it "offensive" and demanded that it be removed.

Rinehart is also reportedly upset by her depiction and had asked the National Gallery to remove the portrait.

Reacting to the scrutiny, artist Namatjira said, "We are all equal in Australia... No matter what heritage you are, or where you come from... We are all Australian."

This is not the only piece under scrutiny; the campaign also targeted another of his black and white portraits of her, most likely done in pencil and ink. These pieces are a part of Namatjira's "Australia in Colour," a wider series that consists of 21 satirical portraits of well-known Australian and foreign personalities, The Guardian reported.

Aside from being the richest woman in Australia, Rinehart is famous for her humanitarian work and substantial financial support of Australian sports, especially swimming. Rinehart has spoken out on some topics like climate change and laws protecting Indigenous heritage, and has engaged in public court disputes with her family.

Rinehart continues to be a major financial supporter of Australian swimming even though she has stopped providing direct financing to the organization that oversees swimming in Australia.

She also reportedly started the Hancock Prospecting Swimmer Support Scheme, a scheme that provides direct money to 92 competitive swimmers, after parting ways with Swimming Australia.

However, in 2022, Rinehart had withdrawn a $15 million sponsorship to Netball Australia after Donnell Wallam, an Indigenous netballer, requested that her uniform should not have the logo of Hancock Prospecting.

Rio Olympic freestyle gold medalist Kyle Chalmers along with chief executive of Swimming Queensland Kevin Hasemann rallied several Australian athletes to urge that the photos be taken down. In a letter to Nick Mitzevich, the director of the national gallery, Hasemann himself made it clear that the letter was sent "on behalf of members of the Australian swim team."

"At the national championships, [the art] was definitely the talk of the swimming pool and everyone [was] throwing their support behind our patron that makes everything possible for us," Chalmers said. "I think she just deserves to be praised and looked upon definitely a lot better than what the portraits have made her out to be," BBC reported.

However, in a statement, the gallery said, "We present works of art to the Australian public to inspire people to explore, experience and learn about art," essentially rejecting requests for the pictures to be taken down.