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Portrait of Rosie Batty Unveiled at Portrait Gallery

24 January 2018

The National Portrait Gallery has unveiled a newly commissioned portrait of Australian domestic violence campaigner and 2015 Australian of the Year Rosie Batty.

Rosie Batty, 2017 by Nikki Toole
Rosie Batty, 2017 by Nikki Toole

The National Portrait Gallery has unveiled a newly commissioned portrait of Australian domestic violence campaigner and 2015 Australian of the Year Rosie Batty.

The portrait, taken by Scottish born photographer Nikki Toole, shows Batty looking directly down the lens of the camera against a black backdrop. Her face draws the viewers focus, portraying a look of determination and resilience.

Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Angus Trumble, thinks Batty is an admirable addition to the collection based on her outstanding contributions to Australian society.

‘Rosie Batty has campaigned tirelessly for cultural and systemic changes in the way that domestic violence is viewed and treated within Australian society,’ said Trumble.

‘She was named Australian of the Year in January 2015 due to her incredible personal strength and selfless efforts to put domestic violence on the national agenda. In that same year she established the Luke Batty Foundation to assist victims of family violence and trauma.’

‘It is our immense pleasure to welcome this striking portrait of Rosie Batty into the national collection. Her contributions to our nation have already been immense and I am sure she will continue to be an advocate for victims of domestic violence both through the Luke Batty Foundation and as a campaigner.’

Photographer Nikki Toole was approached to undertake the portrait of Rosie Batty in July 2017. This is the second portrait in the Gallery’s collection by Toole but was no less significant to the artist.

‘It was such an honour to be asked by the Portrait Gallery to photograph Rosie Batty for the collection,’ said Toole.

‘Rosie has a calm strength that I feel came through during our shoot and I have so much admiration for the work that she does to help other victims of domestic violence. It gives me great pleasure to have played a part in her portrait being a part of the Portrait Gallery collection. ‘

The photograph is part of the National Portrait Gallery’s ongoing commissioning program. The program seeks to facilitate the creation of portraits of exceptional Australian figures who have not been the subject of serious portraiture and to ensure the collection is diverse and complex in its representation of subjects.

The portrait will be on display for visitors to see at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra from 24 January 2018. A Portrait Story featuring Rosie Batty talking about grief and searching for recognition of, and action on, domestic violence is available to view online.

Biographies:

Rosie Batty (b. 1962), campaigner against family violence, became well known to the Australian public in 2014, when her 11 year old son Luke was murdered by his father, her former husband, on an oval after cricket practice. Very soon after, she made a dignified public statement that captivated the nation. In 2015, she was Australian of the Year, using her position to call for widespread recognition of, and action on, domestic violence. Her memoir A Mother’s Story was published that year.

Nikki Toole, Scottish-born photographer, studied film and photography in London and Edinburgh. She has exhibited in Australia, Britain, USA and Germany. Now based in Melbourne, Toole was a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prizes of 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014 and was one of the judges of the prize in 2015. Toole’s exhibition Skater, featuring photographs taken around the world, was developed with the National Portrait Gallery and exhibited at the Gallery in 2012. Toole completed the portrait of Mark Ella acquired through the Patrick Corrigan Portrait Commission Series in 2015.