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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.

Moonbird boy

by Matthew Newton

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2010 Finalist

Indigenous Tasmanian poet Errol West wrote the poem The Moon Birds of Big Dog Island in the 1970s:

Like dust blown across the plain are the people of the Moon Bird.
And yet there is no one to teach me the songs
That bring the Moon Bird, the fish
Or any other thing that makes me what I am.

Mutton birds, also known as moonbirds, have been harvested by the Tasmanian Aboriginal people for hundreds of years. It is a time for the Aboriginal community to come together and connect with country. This portrait shows Shay Maynard carrying birds toward the processing hut on Big Dig Island in the Furneaux Group, Bass Strait.

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2010

Other NPPP photos from Matthew Newton

On Albatross Island, 2015 by Matthew Newton
NPPP 2016 Art Handlers' Award
Julia Gillard, 2013 by Matthew Newton
NPPP 2014 Finalist

Related information

Zareth, 2009 by Scott Bycroft
Zareth, 2009 by Scott Bycroft
Zareth, 2009 by Scott Bycroft
Zareth, 2009 by Scott Bycroft

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2010

Previous exhibition, 2010

The National Photographic Portrait Prize is an annual event intended to promote the very best in contemporary photographic portraiture by both professional and aspiring Australian photographers.

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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.