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B A Santamaria
, 1996

by Wes Walters

oil on canvas (frame: 136.4 cm x 106.0 cm, support: 122.2 cm x 92.6 cm)

Bartholomew Augustine Santamaria (1915-1998) was an influential Catholic public intellectual, journalist and strategist. The son of working-class Italian immigrants, he was a brilliant student of the Christian Brothers and at Melbourne University, and duly came to the attention of Archbishop Daniel Mannix, who offered him a position in the National Secretariat of Catholic Action. As the driving force behind the Catholic Rural Movement and the Catholic Social Studies Movement, Santamaria campaigned for the Labor Party and against communism, capitalism and fascism. Under his influence, Labor anti-communist groups broke away to form the Democratic Labor Party in 1957, ensuring conservative dominance in national politics for more than a decade.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Donated by the Santamaria Family. In loving memory of Catherine who persuaded her father to sit for the portrait and who chose Wes Walters as the artist 2014
Accession number: 2013.56