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Lawrence Leung is a comic actor, writer and director best known for his television shows Lawrence Leung’s choose your own adventure, Maximum choppage and Unbelievable.
‘About seven years ago a producer working with Lawrence rang to ask if I was interested in playing a “guru” in an episode of a TV series they were making,’ says Dean Manning.
‘Back then I had a long flowing beard. I hadn’t acted before. Unsure about it, I passed on the opportunity. A little while later, Lawrence Leung’s Unbelievable came out. I thought it was the funniest thing I’d seen in ages. I became a big fan of Lawrence’s work. From his TV shows to his live theatre, Lawrence really makes me laugh, even when he’s not looking for a laugh. He has an endearing and infectious sense of wonderment; it’s not all gags. We also share a love for puppetry.
‘So maybe I was trying to make amends for not acting by painting Lawrence. When he sat for the portrait I wanted to mention the story of the failed guru but didn’t. I’m glad I can kind of tell him now.’
Born in Sydney in 1964, Manning came to painting late after a long career as a composer/musician with rock groups Leonardo’s Bride and Holidays On Ice. He now regularly exhibits his paintings and animated films. He was a finalist in the 2010 Sulman Prize. This is his first time in the Archibald Prize.