Sydney-based artist Jeremy Eden has taken home $5000 after he was awarded the People’s Choice award at this year’s Art Gallery of NSW Archibald Prize.

His portrait is of much-loved Australian actor Samuel Johnson, who is best known for his role in the television hit The Secret Life of Us and for being a cancer charity campaigner. Johnson founded the cancer research charity Love Your Sister with his late sister Connie before she passed away in 2017.

"This painting has been one I have been thinking about and wanting to make for 10 years. Sam is a storyteller at heart, and it was really important to find a way to share my own narrative while still capturing Sam’s character and emotion in the portrait," Eden says.

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Victorian-based Johnson was recovering from a near-fatal car accident when Eden first met the actor over video in 2021. They then met face-to-face and Eden worked six hours a day for 10 weeks to complete the portrait.

The two bonded over their shared experience of losing family members to cancer – Eden’s mother and Johnson’s sister. The work captures Johnson holding a photograph of Eden’s mother Annette, who passed away from cancer in 2008, after Johnson had encouraged Eden to include his own story in the painting.

This year 35,268 people voted for the prize – the highest ever number of votes cast in the history of the People’s Choice award.

The Archibald 2022 exhibition is showing until August 28 at the Art Gallery of NSW.