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Painting Of Former Child Soldier And Lawyer Wins Archibald People's Choice Award

And we couldn't think of a more worthy recipient.

21/09/2016 1:48 PM AEST | Updated 21/09/2016 3:36 PM AEST
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Art Gallery of NSW
Sydney artist Nick Stathopoulos spent four months painting the Sudanese refugee.

The coveted Archibald People's Choice Award has been announced, and it's hard to think of a more worthy subject to receive the vote of the public.

Sudanese refugee Deng Adut, who fled Sudan after becoming a child soldier, can now add making the Archibald archives to his impressive resume as an Australian lawyer, refugee advocate and community leader.

Sydney artist Nick Stathopoulos spent four months perfecting the award-winning portrait, after coming across Adut in a video campaign for Western Sydney University where he put himself through a law degree.

It's not the first time Adut has shined in the public eye. The lawyer gave the NSW Australia Day address in January where he told Australians not to take for granted living in a country where there is "freedom without fear".

"It must be some sort of magic, but Nick really captured what's underneath my skin in his painting," the lawyer said on Wednesday, at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

"It can be hard for me to look at -- not least because my nose looks so big!"

Stathopoulos said he's spent his whole life developing his artistic process, which is very traditional and often laborious.

Art Gallery of NSW
The Archibald People's Choice Award winner.

But it's clearly paid off, with Stathopoulos taking home $3,500 with the award as well as making history in the art world.

"I don't think we give the general public enough credit when it comes to matters of art. In my experience they are very clued-in. And when it comes to the Archibald Prize People's Choice Award, they seem to get it right every year," Stathopoulos said on Wednesday.

"The critics may balk, but the public always manages to pick my favourite paintings. So I'm delighted they chose my portrait of Deng Adut. It's a great affirmation."

The Archibald Prize was awarded to Louise Hearman for her portrait of Barry Humphries, and Stathopoulos' work was the fifth Archibald finalist.

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