Jeremy Eden awarded Archibald Prize 2022 ANZ People’s Choice

Jeremy Eden has been announced as the winner of the Archibald Prize 2022 ANZ People’s Choice award for his portrait of Gold Logie award-winning actor and cancer charity campaigner Samuel Johnson OAM. The artist and his sitter bonded over their shared experience of losing close family members to cancer – Eden’s mother and Johnson’s sister – and the portrait captures both of their stories.

Jeremy Eden, Samuel Johnson OAM, oil on canvas, 198.4 × 122cm. Photograph: © AGNSW, Felicity Jenkins. © the artist. Sitter: Samuel Johnson.

Sydney-based Eden first met Johnson, who is based in Victoria, over video in 2021 while the actor was recovering from a near-fatal car accident. Eden then flew to Melbourne for a live sitting with Johnson before returning to Sydney, where he painted for up to six hours a day for ten weeks to complete the portrait. Johnson, who founded the cancer research charity Love Your Sister with his late sister Connie before she passed away in 2017, encouraged Eden to also include his own story in the painting. The result is a striking and contemplative portrait of Johnson, who is depicted holding a photograph of Eden’s mother Annette, who passed away from cancer in 2008.

Eden said he is ecstatic to have received this year’s ANZ People’s Choice award:

“This painting has been one I have been thinking about and wanting to make for 10 years. Sam is a storyteller at heart, and it was really important to find a way to share my own narrative while still capturing Sam’s character and emotion in the portrait.”

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

Jeremy Eden and Samuel Johnson at the Art Gallery of NSW with Eden’s portrait Samuel Johnson OAM. Photograph: © AGNSW, Mim Stirling. © the artist

Upon hearing of Eden’s win. Johnson said: “Jeremy is exceptionally talented. His entries over the last two years have been very powerful. He is an extraordinary storyteller, has a huge heart and deserves this acknowledgement so fully. To win the Archibald Prize you have to satisfy a select group of people who really know their stuff. To win the People’s Choice takes in the votes of everyone who sees the exhibition.”

The people have spoken and they loved Jeremy the most. Wow and phwoar. I’m stupidly happy for Jeremy. Such a well-deserved triumph.”

As winner of the 2022 ANZ People’s Choice award, Eden takes home $5,000. 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 Lainie Dunlop from Albury, NSW, who also receives a $2,000 cash prize thanks to ANZ.

The Archibald Prize People’s Choice was first awarded in 1988, and this year 35,268 people voted overall, the highest ever number of votes cast in the history of the People’s Choice.

The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2022 continues at the Art Gallery of New South Wales until 28 August 2022 when it will go on tour in Victoria and regional New South Wales until July 2023.

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