Tsering Hannaford’s subject is restaurateur Anant Singh, who was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2018 for her service to Adelaide’s homeless people, serving free curries in Hindmarsh Square weekly since 1996.
‘This portrait of Anant Singh, known fondly in Adelaide as Mrs Singh, was painted in my studio last year, over a month,’ says Hannaford. ‘Of Punjabi heritage, Mrs Singh was born in Kuala Lumpur in 1931 into a large household of ten siblings. She was taught to cook by her mother from the age of six and her passion for food has not diminished; she still enjoys trying new recipes and restaurants. In 1978 she moved with her husband to Adelaide, and opened the iconic Jasmin restaurant in 1980. Forty years later, at 88, she still goes in at least once a week to oversee the kitchen.’
‘Through our sittings, Mrs Singh’s generosity and down-to-earth nature touched me. Her belief in working hard and treating others with kindness is a simple and beautiful lesson.’
Born in 1987 in Adelaide, where she lives and works, Hannaford is a largely self-taught artist though she has studied traditional realist methods of painting in Australia, France and the US. This is her fifth time in the Archibald Prize.