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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.

A photographer’s glamorous friends

They went on to become some of Australia’s most influential arts practitioners, but to Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi photographer and film-maker Michael Riley, they were simply his close friends.

1 Hetti, 1990 (printed 2013). 2 Joe and Brenda, 1990 (printed 2013). 3 Avril and Miya, 1990 (printed 2013). All Michael Riley. © Michael Riley/Copyright Agency, 2021.

Young curators, actors, dancers, artists, academics and lawyers formed this close-knit community of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives and activists working in Sydney's inner-west at a formative time. It was a setting that bred ground-breaking exhibitions, art collectives, dance and theatre companies; social justice and land rights campaigns; and Aboriginal medical, legal and housing services through the 1980s and 1990s. Michael Riley took photographic portraits, celebrating his friends as ‘very sophisticated and … very glamorous’, as he noted in a 1989 interview. Riley’s portrait of Gurindji and Mudpurra father and daughter, Joseph and Brenda L Croft, show the intertwining of family and community, activism and arts. Joseph was a cultural advisor to governments and Indigenous rights advocate throughout his life. Brenda is a leading artist, curator and lecturer. Arrernte and Kalkadoon woman Hetti Perkins and Noonuccal woman Avril Quaill became influential curators and arts leaders.

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© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency