Jaq Grantford awarded Archibald Prize 2023 ANZ People's Choice award for portrait of Noni Hazlehurst

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Jaq Grantford awarded Archibald Prize 2023 ANZ People's Choice award for portrait of Noni Hazlehurst
ANZ People's Choice Winner Announcment. Archibald Prize 2023 ANZ People’s Choice award winner Jaq Grantford with the winning work ‘Through the window’, photo © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Diana Panuccio.

SYDNEY.- First-time Archibald Prize finalist Jaq Grantford has been announced as the winner of the Archibald Prize 2023 ANZ People’s Choice award for her portrait, Through the window, of beloved former Play School presenter and Logie Hall of Fame inductee Noni Hazlehurst.

Melbourne-based Grantford set out to portray Hazlehurst’s signature energy and warmth. The result is a captivating portrait of Hazlehurst, who is depicted smiling and gazing through a rain-flecked window – a nod to her Play School days. Grantford explains that the symbols drawn onto the window are symbols for safety and protection, 'not just for her, but for everyone in these uncertain times’.

The artist and her sitter have a history of working together, first collaborating on a portrait in 2017 titled The story teller. In 2022, The story teller was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, moving Grantford to decide to create another portrait of Hazlehurst for her 2023 Archibald Prize entry.

Grantford said she was ‘blown away’ to have received this year’s ANZ People’s Choice award.

‘It's such an incredible honour to win the People's Choice award and a real testament to how beloved Noni is. She is such a delightful person, and I love how people's faces light up when they mention her name. She has a real magic about her,’ said Grantford.

‘I love her passion for the things she believes in, and she has a wonderful depth to her – an empathetic, credible face as a presenter and a sensitive and insightful actor. To try to capture Noni on canvas was an absolute joy. I feel very humbled that people connected with the portrait and how Noni was portrayed. A most heartfelt thank you to all those who voted.’

A full-time portrait artist, Grantford grew up in Melbourne and discovered a passion for portraiture as a young child. As well as the National Portrait Gallery, her work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria, MEAM European Museum of Modern Art and many others. In 2022, she won the National Portrait Gallery’s Darling Portrait Prize for a self-portrait.

Noni Hazlehurst AM is a multi-award-winning actor, presenter, writer and director, whose 50-year career encompasses theatre, film, television and radio. Beloved by many generations for her 24 years on ABC’s Play School and 10 years presenting Channel 7’s Better Homes and Gardens, Hazlehurst is also widely respected for her many dramatic roles across television, cinema and stage including Nancy Wake, The Shiralee, A Place to Call Home, Monkey Grip, June Again, Little Fish and Candy and her one-woman stage hit Mother. In 1995 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to children and the performing arts, and in 2016 was the second woman inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame.

This year marks Hazlehurst’s second appearance in the Archibald Prize, after sitting for Rosemary Valadon’s 1994 finalist portrait Noni Hazlehurst – summer ‘94 waiting again.

Upon learning of Grantford’s win Hazlehurst said: ‘I'm thrilled for Jaq to have this recognition for her exquisite talent. Her portraits are remarkable, not only for their verisimilitude, but also for her unique and thoughtful storytelling ability. There is a warmth and authenticity about her work, which evokes a strong visceral connection between the artist, the subject and the viewer.’

Art Gallery of New South Wales deputy director and director of collections Maud Page said Grantford’s portrait of Hazlehurst was a clear crowd favourite among visitors to the Archibald Prize in 2023.

‘The ANZ People’s Choice award is always a highlight of the Archibald Prize, as the power lies with the public to determine which of the year’s finalists captured their attention,’ Page said. ‘We congratulate Jaq Grantford on charming our visitors with her heartwarming portrait of Noni Hazlehurst.’

The Archibald Prize People’s Choice was first awarded in 1988 and is now supported by presenting partner ANZ. This year 15,542 visitors to the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2023 exhibition voted in the competition.

As winner of the 2023 ANZ People’s Choice award Grantford takes home $5000, thanks to ANZ. One person who voted for the People’s Choice award-winning painting was also selected at random to win the People’s Choice voters’ prize. This year, the lucky voter is Chris Hopkins from Mount Colah, NSW who receives a $2000 cash prize, also thanks to ANZ.

The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2023 and the Young Archie competition are generously supported by presenting partner ANZ.

ANZ Group Executive, Institutional Mark Whelan said: ‘Congratulations to Jaq Grantford on winning the 2023 ANZ People’s Choice award. This year marks 14 years of support from ANZ for this competition. The ANZ People's Choice award continues to delight, challenge and engage the wider community. We are proud to continue being a part of this important celebration of the arts.’

The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2023 continues at the Art Gallery of New South Wales until 3 September 2023. This is followed by a tour of Archibald Prize 2023 finalists to Victoria and regional New South Wales until August 2024, and a tour of Wynne Prize 2023 finalists to regional New South Wales until June 2024.

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