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

Winner: People's Choice 2023

Jaq Grantford Through the window

oil on canvas

170 x 131.6 cm

Jaq Grantford first painted actor, writer and director Noni Hazlehurst in 2017 in a portrait titled The story teller. ‘We were both so delighted when the National Portrait Gallery acquired it in 2022 that we thought it would be wonderful to do another portrait for the Archibald,’ says Grantford, who is a first-time finalist.

‘I wanted to create an image of Noni looking safe and protected from the rain, as that’s how she makes people feel. She has a lovely energy that exudes warmth and comfort. Mention her name, and people’s faces light up.

‘The symbols in the window are for protection. Noni’s life has been impacted by bushfires and floods, among other challenges, so the protection is not just for her, but for everyone in these uncertain times. Looking through the window is also a nod to her incredible 24 years on Play School.’

In 2016, Hazlehurst was inducted into the Logie Hall of Fame and delivered a rousing speech, calling out racism, sexism and bigotry. ‘The way she spoke about her values and beliefs was inspiring,’ says Grantford. ‘It made me want to paint her even more.’

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