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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.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Young Mo (Roy Rene)

1977
Martin Sharp

oil on galvanised iron (support: 116.5 cm x 58.5 cm depth 2.0 cm)

Roy Rene and Mo were stage names of the comic Henry van der Sluys (Sluice) (1892-1954). With Nat Phillips, he formed a vaudeville duo known as 'Stiffy and Mo', adopting a distinctive white face and painted black beard and lisping catchphrases such as 'strike me lucky'. Strike Me Lucky (1934) was his only film. During the 1940s he starred in a popular radio series, McCackie Mansions. This work was made to advertise the Steve Spears play Young Mo at Sydney's Nimrod Theatre. The play, directed by Richard Wherrett, starred Garry McDonald AO (b. 1948), then at the height of his Norman Gunston success. Sharp intended the portrait to combine the features of Mo and McDonald in an image resembling a Japanese Kabuki print. As a poster, it became the signature image of the Nimrod company.

Gift of Richard Wherrett 1998. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Martin Sharp/Copyright Agency, 2021

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Martin Sharp (age 35 in 1977)

Henry van der Sluys

Subject professions

Performing arts

Donated by

Richard Wherrett (1 portrait)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Martin Sharp by Garry Shead

Portrait story

Artists Garry Shead and Martin Sharp recount their friendship and the creation of Martin's portrait.

Young Mo (Roy Rene)

'The artist's notebook'

Portrait story

An interview with Australian artist and collector of quirky artefacts, Martin Sharp.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
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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