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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Cancelled: Naabami

Thou shall/will see me/us – Matilda (Ngambri/Ngunnawal/Wiradjuri peoples)

Wednesday 18 March
Matilda (Ngambri/Ngunnawal), 2019 Brenda L Croft
Matilda (Ngambri/Ngunnawal), 2019 Brenda L Croft

Dr Matilda House talks about her photographic portrait by Brenda L Croft.

Aunty Matilda House is a Ngambri/Ngunnawal Elder from Canberra. Matilda (Ngambri/Ngunnawal) is part of a series, Naabami (Thou shall/will see): I am/We are Barangaroo, honouring Cammeraygal woman, Barangaroo (c. 1750 – 1791), wife of Wangal man, Woollarawarre Bennelong (c. 1763/4 – 1813). Renowned for her standpoint as a staunch First Nations woman, Barangaroo determined how she would live and die on her peoples’ lands during a time of immense upheaval and overwhelming change for Eora and surrounding clans. Her spirit continues to inspire and inform contemporary First Nations sovereign women. 

Brenda L Croft, artist, curator, lecturer and freelance writer, is from the Gurindji nation in the Northern Territory. Following study at the Canberra School of Art, she was a founder member of the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative in Sydney, and gained her master's degree in Art Administration in 1995. She was the first Australian recipient of the Chicago Artists International Program grant in 1996, and the following year she was resident artist at the Australia Council Greene St Studio in New York. Administrative posts she has held include those of general manager of the Boomalli cooperative, and project manager of the inaugural National Indigenous School in New Media Art at the School of Fine Arts of the NT University. She has lectured in art theory at the School of Art at the ANU and researched and commented on Aboriginal (particularly women's) issues for the ABC and SBS. Major shows she has curated include fluent: Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Yvonne Koolmatrie and Judy Watson at the 47th Venice Biennale in 1997 and Beyond the Pale: Adelaide Biennale of Australian Art for the Telstra Adelaide Festival in 2000. Her own work has been exhibited at the Biennales of Venice, Sydney, Melbourne, Noumea and Johannesburg. In 2000 her major commissioned work Wuganmagulya (Farm Cove) was officially launched as part of the Sydney City Council's Sculpture Walk at the Royal Botanic Gardens, and another commissioned work was unveiled at Sydney International Airport. She is also represented in the NGA, the AGNSW, the AGWA, the NGV, the MAGNT and many other public and private collections.

Brenda is a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2020.

Related information

The mahi-mahi, 2019 Rob Palmer
The mahi-mahi, 2019 Rob Palmer
The mahi-mahi, 2019 Rob Palmer
The mahi-mahi, 2019 Rob Palmer

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2020

Previous exhibition, 2020

The exhibition is selected from a national field of entries, reflecting the distinctive vision of Australia's aspiring and professional portrait photographers and the unique nature of their subjects.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.