Painter, comedian and author Anh Do has taken out the 2017 Archibald Prize ANZ People’s Choice award with his portrait of Indigenous actor, Jack Charles.
Do first heard of Charles in a newspaper article that introduced him as “esteemed actor, former heroin addict and jailbird, member of the stolen generation, gay man and latter-day Indigenous activist”, and later went on to interview him and paint him in the latest season of his popular ABC TV show Anh’s Brush with Fame.
“I feel very lucky that Jack let me paint his portrait for the Archibald prize. He’s an extraordinary Australian with a great face full of character. Jack has lived a big life and I enjoyed getting to know him and painting his portrait immensely,” Do said.
Now a legendary figure and role model to many, Charles’ tumultuous life story is vibrantly depicted in the winning ANZ People’s Choice portrait.
Charles said he thoroughly enjoyed being in Do’s company as he sat for the portrait.
“I am extremely chuffed to be counted as one of Anh Do’s mates, and of his extraordinary portrait of moi. It was a hoot sitting for this legend in his sexy little Sydney studio,” Charles said.
“I count him as one of the best extractors of information – from his engaging smile, wit, genuine interest and listening to the dribs and drabs of my story, my reason for living. I’m blessed thrice over,” said Charles.
The ANZ People’s Choice win follows Do’s 2014 Archibald finalist portrait of his father, Tam Do.
Congratulating Do on his win, Art Gallery of New South Wales Director Michael Brand said, “Do’s striking portrait of Jack Charles has clearly moved visitors at 2017’s Archibald exhibition. It is fantastic to celebrate this vibrant collaboration between two of Australia’s most talented creatives.”
The Archibald Prize People’s Choice was first awarded in 1988 – now supported by presenting partner ANZ – and in 2017 was voted for by more than 15,000 members of the public who visited the exhibition before 2 October 2017.
In 2017, the ANZ People’s Choice award carries a $3500 cash prize for the artist. 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. In 2017, the lucky voter is Michael Harris, who receives a $2000 cash prize from ANZ.
“We attended the Archibald Prize as a family with my two children attending for the first time. It was an incredible experience watching the children explain what they liked and why. Anh Do’s painting JC was the standout for me and my daughter, Maddie. I really like the large brush strokes and the character that he has captured in the face,” Harris said.
ANZ Group Executive Australia, Fred Ohlsson, said, “Congratulations to Anh Do on winning the ANZ People’s Choice award. It is incredible to see the widespread interest the Archibald continues to generate among the community, and ANZ is very proud of its long history as Presenting Partner of this exhibition.
“I am extremely excited that the exhibition will now expand its audience further as it commences its regional tour of Victoria and New South Wales,” Ohlsson said.
The winning portrait and finalist works for the 2017 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes are on show at the Art Gallery of New South Wales until Sunday, 22 October 2017. Archibald Prize finalists will then go on a regional tour until October 2018.