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Packers' Archibald winner announced -

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ELEANOR HALL: The life of a museum packer is not one usually lived in the spotlight.

But once a year the head packer at the Art Gallery of New South Wales is thronged by journalists
wanting to know which portrait he's chosen as the winner of the Archibald Packing Room Prize.

Steven Peters has been selecting his favourite from hundreds of Archibald entries for no less than
18 years.

The 2009 Packing Room Prize has just been announced at the gallery.

Reporter Barbara Miller is there and she joins us now.

So Barbara, who is this year's winner?

BARBARA MILLER: The winner Eleanor, from 709 entries this year is Paul Jackson, he's an artist now
based in Sydney originally from New Zealand, and he painted a portrait of the comedian Flacco, his
real name is Paul Livingstone.

Flacco in the picture is sitting on a chair, which is adorned with some figurative wooden animals,
and he's pointing at his head.

I caught up with Steven Peters, the head packer, and asked him why he chose the winning work?

STEVEN PETERS: The year's work came in on the first day, the Monday of entries coming it, just
looked a realistic picture of Flacco, it's also very, very good.

BARBARA MILLER: Very good, do you mean very realistic?

STEVEN PETERS: Realistic, actually this is a funny thing but it looks like him, which some of the
portraits that do come in here, when you have a look at them, it doesn't look like anything like
them, of the subject, and you think, 'oh God what were they thinking'.

You know, was the subject sick when they painted him, but this one looked very good, that's our

BARBARA MILLER: You say we, but it's not really a democratic process is it? It's your vote isn't it
that counts?

STEVEN PETERS: Oh no, I listen to what the other boys say and sometimes I take notice of them
(laughs). A lot of times I don't.

BARBARA MILLER: Is the life of a packer quite difficult, quite tedious? Do you need this kind of
perk to keep you happy at work?

STEVEN PETERS: No it just gives us, just another thing to keep us going, sort of occupies our
minds, there's plenty of room in their minds to occupy.

BARBARA MILLER: How would you rate the chances of Paul Jackson of winning the main prize?

STEVEN PETERS: I would think he'd have a very good chance, well he's won the major prize which is
the Packing Room Prize, and now there's other little things called the Archibald.

ELEANOR HALL: Museum packer Steve Peters. Now Barbara, he was saying there that he thought that
Paul Jackson had a good chance of winning the main prize.

The finalists for the main Archibald prize have been announced, is Paul Jackson in the running?

BARBARA MILLER: It would have to be said he probably doesn't have a great chance if we look at
history, the Packing Room Prize has never coincided with the judge's decision.

Paul Jackson was joking in the gallery that he might take out all three, the Packing Room Prize,
the main Archibald prize and the people's choice, which is when members of the public vote on their
favourite one.

I mean I wouldn't dare judge what the judging for the main prize might think, I would think at
least as far as the people's choice goes, he would have some fairly stiff competition there.

ELEANOR HALL: Now I understand that Paul Livingston, Flacco, was also at the gallery today, did he
have anything to say about Paul Jacksons portrait of him?

BARBARA MILLER: He said he'd hoped the picture would be of Flacco, but when he looked at it he saw
himself, Paul Livingston, and he said all I saw was an old man.

But then he went on to say he didn't know much about art, but that he did like the picture.

ELEANOR HALL: Barbara Miller at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, thank you.