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Archibald Prize 2023 Installation image
Photograph: AGNSW/Jenni Carter

And the winner of the People’s Choice Award for the 2023 Archibald Prize is…

A stunning portrait of Aussie entertainer and Play School legend Noni Hazelhurst is the people's pick

Alannah Le Cross
Written by
Alannah Le Cross

Australia’s favourite art prize has already announced the winners of the prestigious $100,000 Archibald Prize and the always highly anticipated Packing Room Prize. And now, we finally know which painterly rendering of a famous face has scooped up the People’s Choice Award.

First-time Archibald Prize finalist Jaq Grantford has been announced as the ANZ People’s Choice award winner for her portrait ‘Through the window’, which depicts beloved entertainer Noni Hazlehurst.

Whether you know Hazelhurst best from her 24 years as a presenter on ABC’s Play School, her 10 years presenting Channel 7’s Better Homes and Gardens, or one of her many dramatic roles on television, cinema and the stage, there aren’t many Australians who aren’t familiar with her energy and warmth. Hazelhurst is a multi-award-winning actor, presenter, writer and director with a 50-year-strong career. In 2016, she became the second woman to ever be inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame, and her epic, politically-charged acceptance speech went viral as she called out sexism, racism and bigotry (stick it to ‘em, Noni!). 

Grantford’s captivating portrait depicts Hazelhurst smiling and gazing through a rain-flecked window – a nod to her Play School days. The Melbourne-based full-time portrait artist 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, that painting 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: “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.”

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.”

So who took out the top gong? Sydney-based artist Julia Gutman won the 2023 Archibald Prize, taking home $100,000 for her portrait ‘Head in the sky, feet on the ground’ of singer-songwriter Montaigne, which incorporates a patchwork of found textiles. The Packing Room Prize this year went to Cairns-based artist Andrea Huelin for her colourful portrait of comedian Cal Wilson – this was a momentous one, as it was the first pick from the new panel of Packing Room Pickers.  

The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize exhibitions are open to visit until September 3 at the Art Gallery of NSW. Tickets are timed and start at $20 for members, $25 for adults, $22 for concessions, $13 for youth, and children under 12 get in for free (good on ‘em). You can snap up your tickets here.


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