The 2022 Archibald Prize winner will be announced on Friday and in the running is a portrait of artist Patricia Piccinini who gave Canberra - and the world - Skywhale.
There are 52 works contending for the prestigious prize.
Piccinini was captured by Melbourne artist Natasha Bieniek, an eight-time Archibald finalist.
She painted Piccinini not with any of her fantastical creatures, but sitting in a lounge room.
"In many ways, Patricia's artwork is the polar opposite of my own. Her Skywhale, for example, is a 34-metre-long hot air balloon that can be seen from great heights," Bieniek said.
"My portrait, on the other hand, is so small that it needs to be viewed at close range. Yet both artworks embody a strong sense of intimacy, and that intimacy is at the core of my portrait."
Other portraits that have reached the Archibald final includes ones of Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett by Anh Do, Love Your Sister's Samuel Johnson by Jeremy Eden, and author Helen Garner by Katherine Hattam.
Canberra artist Ross Townsend is also a first-time finalist in this year's Archibald Prize with his painting of Cherrone Ellis, a forensic scientist with the Australian Federal Police. The work is called Staying Strong, showing her in full taekwondo flight.
Ross was an AFP forensic artist for 15 years. He has entered the Archibald for several years and was elated to finally crack the finalists' lists.
"It's awesome," he said.
The exhibition of this year's finalists will open on Saturday at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney and continue until August 28.
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