Entertainment Arts Barry Humphries portrait wins Archibald Prize

Barry Humphries portrait wins Archibald Prize

archibald prize winner 2016
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This year’s Archibald Prize has been awarded to Louise Hearman for her portrait of Barry Humphries.

Hearman has won $100,000 for her oil on masonite painting of the 82-year-old comedian, satirist and actor.

As she accepted the prize for the work titled ‘Barry’, Hearman said the portrait had taken several years to make.

“Every feature on this painting has been in a different place at some point and it took me several years to make it,” she said.

archibald prize winner 2016
Hearman poses with her winning piece. Photo: Twitter

“I had to keep waiting for Barry to come back from overseas to Australia, and I had to go up to his face, look into his eyes and try to work out what colour they were.”

Hearman said Humphries, known for his alter ego characters Dame Edna Everage and Les Patterson, was a very difficult person to paint.

“I hope I kept him open, like he wasn’t one thing or another,” she said.

“He’s all things at once.”

Hearman, 53, studied at the Victorian College of the Arts and is known for her dark, dream-like paintings.

She said the local industry had been difficult for artists in recent years.

“Life in Australia has been pretty ragged for visual artists in the last few years, so now I’m back in the black,” Hearman said.

“It’s sad that so much great talent in Australia has to leave this country to make a living from what they do.

“I love Australia, I want to stay here, I want to work here, and this prize will really help me do that.”

It’s the third time an artist has painted Humphries for the prestigious competition.

Sydney artist Tim Storrier won the 2014 Archibald Packing Room Prize for his portrait of Humphries as alter ego Sir Leslie Patterson.

And in 1969, Humphries depicted as Dame Edna Everage by John Brack was also an Archibald finalist.

archibald prize winner 2016
Barry Humphries as Dame Edna Everage by John Brack in the 1969 Archibald Prize. Photo: Art Gallery of NSW