National Portrait Gallery Canberra
2 March - 13 May 2001
Interview copyright: Virginia Ginnane
Polly Borland: Australians, is an exhibition of 54 new portraits of significant Australians
who have made a contribution to British life and who have largely made their home or based
their professional life in the UK. Born in Melbourne in 1959, Borland has lived in the UK
for eight years and established an international reputation for both her portraiture and
off-beat reportage, with work appearing regularly in the national and international press.
Polly Borland: Australians, has been jointly organised by the National Portrait Gallery,
London and the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.
The portraits in the exhibition reflect the many fields in which Australians have
excelled, including art, business, literature, science, music, media, architecture and
fashion. Subjects include Natalie Umbruglio, Sir Robert May, Germaine Greer and Sir Les
Patterson. They represent a cross section of diverse, established and emerging talents,
and reflect that particular streak of radicalism which has helped establish Australia on
the world map, as a nation of can-doers, daredevil entrepreneurs, successful artists and
competitive sportsmen and women.
Borland says of her work, "I'm fascinated by people - I love meeting them, I love photographing
them, I love finding out about them. The best portraiture is when you get beneath the skin
of someone, it's psychologically revealing. You penetrate below the surface."