Jeremy Eden’s portrait of actor Samuel Johnson wins the People’s Choice Award

Jeremy Eden’s portrait of actor Samuel Johnson wins the People’s Choice Award

A portrait of Australian actor and cancer charity activist Samuel Johnson by Jeremy Eden won the Archibald Prize People’s Choice 2022.

Eden, a Sydney-based artist, first met Johnson on video in 2021 as the actor was recovering from a near-fatal car accident. Eden then flew to Melbourne for a live session with Johnson, before returning to Sydney where he painted up to six hours a day for 10 weeks to complete the portrait.

Related: Archibald Prize 2022 Finalists: Benjamin Law, Helen Garner, Taika Waititi and others – in pictures

The men bonded with their shared experience of losing close family members to cancer. Johnson, who founded the cancer research charity Love Your Sister with his late sister Connie before her death in 2017, encouraged Eden to include her own story in the painting; The portrait shows Johnson holding a photograph of Eden’s mother, Annette, who died of cancer in 2008.

Eden, who wins a $ 5,000 prize, said it was “an honor”.

“This painting was one that I thought about and wanted to do for 10 years,” he said. “Sam is a storyteller at heart and it was really important to find a way to share my narrative while still capturing Sam’s character and emotions in the portrait.

“It’s inspiring to see what Sam and the Love Your Sister team have accomplished, having raised so much money for cancer research. I have been following Sam’s journey with the charity for many years and it is a privilege to be able to contribute in my own way. It’s amazing to be an Archibald prize finalist, but knowing that the painting resonated with so many people makes the experience even more meaningful.

Love Your Sister has raised over $ 15 million to support cancer research. In 2016, Johnson was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia, for his service to cancer research and the performing arts.

Johnson called Eden “exceptionally talented”.

“He is an extraordinary storyteller, has a huge heart and deserves this recognition so fully. To win the Archibald award you have to satisfy a select group of people who really know their work. To win the popular choice he takes the votes of everyone who sees the exhibition. People have talked and loved Jeremy more, “he said.

“Wow and phwoar. I’m stupidly happy for Jeremy. Such a well-deserved triumph “.

Maud Page, deputy director and collections director of the New South Wales Art Gallery, said the portrait was clearly a crowd favorite among visitors to the annual Archibald exhibition.

“We congratulate Jeremy Eden on capturing the hearts of our visitors with his powerful portrait of Samuel Johnson,” said Page.

Born in Sydney in 1988, Eden earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Queensland College of Art in 2015. He was also nominated for the Archibald Award in 2021, for his portrayal of another actor, Firass Dirani.

Awarded for the first time in 1988, the People’s Choice category this year was voted by over 35,000 people, the highest number of votes ever expressed in the history of the category.

In May, acclaimed artist Dhungatti Blak Douglas won the $ 100,000 Archibald award for his portrait of artist Wiradjuri Karla Dickens, titled Moby Dickens, making him the second Australian indigenous winner in 101 years, after Vincent Namatjira in 2020.

And the portrait of director Taika Waititi by Claus Stangl won the packing room award, which is judged by the gallery staff who hang the works each year.

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