In 2016, Louise Hearman won the Archibald Prize with her portrait of Barry Humphries. That year, Barry Jones AC wrote to her asking if she’d consider painting ‘the other Barry’.
Jones’ career has spanned from teaching, writing and broadcasting to politics over many decades. ‘For those who don’t know, he was initially famous for winning Pick a box, one of the first Australian television game shows,’ says Hearman. ‘A quick internet search will show how important a figure Barry is in Australia’s history. His encyclopaedic knowledge of science, history, politics and the arts is legendary.
‘Recently I’ve been wondering what function art serves, what advantage to human existence will looking at this painting I’ve made give. Having a super-brain like Barry ask you to paint them is uplifting and a great honour.
‘In a world of increased specialisation, someone who has vast knowledge across disciplines, together with such humility, is a rare gem. Small wonder he’s officially a “living treasure” and a very nice person to boot.’
Born in Melbourne in 1963, Hearman attended the Victorian College of the Arts. She won the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize in 2014.