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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.

Inner Worlds, Outer Selves

1 Scientific priest, 1965 Dusan Marek. National Gallery of Victoria. Presented through the NGV Foundation by The Agapitos/Wilson Collection, Member, 2000. 2 Lauren, 2003 Petrina Hicks. National Gallery of Victoria. Purchased with funds arranged by Loti Smorgon for Contemporary Australian Photography, 2006.

Within a person’s psyche live memories, dreams, instincts, fears and fantasies. On the outside, although our identities may appear far less complicated, we are able to choose which parts of ourselves we wish to project. In this way, our inner and outer selves are inextricably linked, both evolving and malleable.

Reflecting the human experience of the mind and body in portraiture, we see works which project aspects of our inner and outer identities. Video portraits which explore the various constructions of oneself sit alongside works that gouge out semblances of psychological chaos, envisioning the subconscious in surreal and post-human states of being. The sculptural and photographic works powerfully convey the permeability of both the inner world and outer self, as they mingle in their depictions of emotion, energy and personality.

1 I split your gaze, 1997; printed 2005 Brook Andrew. National Gallery of Victoria. Purchased with funds from the Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2005. 2 Portrait of Pauline McCarthy Joy Hester. National Gallery of Victoria. June Sherwood Bequest 2021.

A true artistic likeness can only ever be approximate, and the attempt to accurately depict one’s outer self is only one possibility of portraiture. Beyond this, by teasing out other aspects of the genre, it becomes possible to embrace the complexities and uncover the depths of our inner worlds.

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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 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