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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.

Mr M Walarmerpui, 2019

Ben Searcy

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2020 Finalist

Mr M Walarmerpui was an accomplished and innovative Tiwi carver who lived in Pirlangimpi, a remote community on Melville Island in the Northern Territory. This image was taken three thousand kilometres from his home, as Mr M waited in a room – abuzz with preparations and anticipation – to stage a Pukamani Ceremony for the opening of the 2019 Tarnanthi Festival in Adelaide. Visiting Melville Island a few months earlier, I had observed the enormous power and stature that performing traditional dance gave the Tiwi Islanders I met. I wanted to capture that energy in a series of behind the scenes portraits, before and after the dance.

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2020

Other NPPP photos from Ben Searcy

Mr King was once on Countdown, 2010 by Ben Searcy
2011 Finalist

Related information

The mahi-mahi, 2019 Rob Palmer
The mahi-mahi, 2019 Rob Palmer
The mahi-mahi, 2019 Rob Palmer
The mahi-mahi, 2019 Rob Palmer

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2020

Previous exhibition, 2020

The exhibition is selected from a national field of entries, reflecting the distinctive vision of Australia's aspiring and professional portrait photographers and the unique nature of their subjects.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

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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.

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