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Twenty new portraits marking Portrait Gallery’s twentieth birthday

21 August 2018

Li Cunxin, 2018 Jun Chen
Li Cunxin, 2018 Jun Chen

To celebrate the National Portrait Gallery’s twentieth anniversary as an institution, twenty portraits of outstanding Australian individuals have been commissioned for the permanent collection. This is the largest undertaking for the Gallery’s commissioning program in its twenty-year existence.

The twenty new portraits will feature in 20/20: Celebrating twenty years with twenty new portrait commissions, on display from 20 October this year. Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Mr Angus Trumble, believes the commissioning program is one of the most important undertakings that has formed the Gallery’s identity.

‘For twenty years, the Portrait Gallery’s commissioning program has been a solid foundation of the institution and its collection. It has sought to embrace a diversity of media and a fresh approach to portraiture. The program is driven by the desire to represent outstanding and unique Australians of the present,’ said Mr Trumble.

20/20 brings together individuals who have made outstanding contributions across diverse fields of endeavor but may not be well known to the Australian public.’

‘Each portrait has been a labour of love to match sitter with artist to achieve the ultimate expression of synergy. I think the Australian public will be as excited and thrilled as we are to see the variety of techniques and approaches to portraiture in these twenty new works.’

The Portrait Gallery is excited to announce six of the subjects at this time. Each one represents excellence in their chosen fields including the arts, science and sport.

Australian artist Imants Tillers has painted a larger than life portrait of one of Australia’s most prolific playwrights Louis Nowra.

Coach and former professional basketball player Andrew Gaze will form part of 20/20 with a photographic portrait by Sydney-based photographer George Fetting.

Quantum physicist and Australian of the Year for 2018 Michelle Simmons has been photographed by Malaysian born Australian photographer Selina Ou for 20/20.

Australian photographer Sarah Rhodes has photographed Tony Shaw, Brisbane-born rugby great, in black and white.

Adelaide-based visual artist Deidre But-Husaim has painted novelist and medical doctor Peter Goldsworthy.

Celebrated Chinese-Australian ballet dancer Li Cunxin completes the announcement of the first six portraits. Chinese-born artist Jun Chen has captured Cunxin in oil paint.

Each portrait commissioned for 20/20 has been made possible through the generosity and support of donors.

20/20: Celebrating twenty years with twenty new portrait commissions will be on display to the public from 20 October until 10 February 2019.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Ngunnawal people, the traditional custodians of the land upon which the NPG stands.