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Gallery unveils Portrait of Mark Ella

12 May 2016

Last night in Sydney, the National Portrait Gallery unveiled a newly commissioned portrait of Australian sporting legend Mark Ella AM.

Considered one of the country’s all-time Rugby union greats, Ella will join the ranks of David Campese, Ken Catchpole, George Gregan, Arthur Summons and John Thornett in the Gallery’s Collection.  In 2013 Mark Ella was one of the four Australians named amongst the eleven inaugural ‘legends’ of the International Rugby Board Hall of Fame. 

Director of the Gallery, Angus Trumble, said the portrait was made possible through the generosity of Australian businessman, art collector and philanthropist, Mr Patrick Corrigan AM.

‘Patrick Corrigan is a long-time supporter of the Portrait Gallery and is presently a Director of the Gallery’s Board.  The Gallery is very grateful for Patrick’s ongoing support and over the years he has donated or assisted with the purchase of important works for the National Portrait Collection.  Patrick continues to show leadership with his philanthropic giving to Australia’s cultural life,’ said Angus.

‘The Patrick Corrigan Portrait Commission Series was launched in 2014. This is the second of three portraits of Rugby greats that has been championed by Mr Corrigan and it will join a portrait of Ken Catchpole which was unveiled in October 2014.’

Patrick Corrigan has had a lifelong passion for Rugby union and is a self-professed ‘rugby tragic’.

‘I am honoured to be able to give back to the Australian people and support the arts through this Portrait Commission Series.  I get great joy out of sharing my passion with the broader public.  I believe all Australians should have the opportunity to access the arts, in this case portraits of and by individuals who have made this country a wonderful place,’ said Patrick.

‘This portrait depicts a sporting legend well into his retirement and some 30 years after his Rugby career. Ella’s story is a great example of Australia’s outstanding sporting history.’

The photograph, taken by Nikki Toole, will be available to view at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra in the coming weeks.

Mark Ella, 2015 by Nikki Toole.
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