We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

Jill Ansell Looking east

oil on board and assemblage in found tin

10.8 x 16.5 cm

Jill Ansell’s self-portrait marks her first time as an Archibald finalist. ‘It emerged from a lively conversation with other West Australian artists about how few of us have participated in the Archibald Prize. The most common reasons were distance, the resulting freight expense, and not being known in the east,’ she says.

‘I wanted my portrait to explore being remote and unseen; to appear like an old postcard that has taken multiple wrong turns over a century before finally arriving.’

Ansell positioned herself facing east into the morning sun, squinting to see Sydney, nearly 4000 kilometres away on the other side of the map, then split the work into two panels inside an old tobacco tin.

‘It includes small items such as broken watch parts, an old stamp and sand. For the address label, I calculated how long it would take me to walk to the Art Gallery of New South Wales if I was fitter and took Sundays off to treat blisters,’ she says.

‘Given that the work explores the difficulty of making it into the Archibald, the irony of its acceptance is not lost on me.’

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