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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.

Young Mo (Roy Rene), 1977

Martin Sharp

oil on galvanised iron (support: 115.7 cm x 58.0 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.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Richard Wherrett 1998
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Martin Sharp/Copyright Agency, 2020

Accession number: 1998.6

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Martin Sharp (age 35 in 1977)

Henry van der Sluys

Subject professions

Performing arts

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.

Interview with Martin Sharp and Garry Shead video: 2 minutes
Interview with Martin Sharp and Garry Shead video: 2 minutes
Interview with Martin Sharp and Garry Shead video: 2 minutes
Interview with Martin Sharp and Garry Shead video: 2 minutes

Martin Sharp by Garry Shead

Portrait story

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

Interview with Martin Sharp video: 2 minutes
Interview with Martin Sharp video: 2 minutes
Interview with Martin Sharp video: 2 minutes
Interview with Martin Sharp video: 2 minutes

Young Mo (Roy Rene)

'The artist's notebook'

Portrait story

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

Martin Sharp, 1986 Garry Shead
Martin Sharp, 1986 Garry Shead
Martin Sharp, 1986 Garry Shead
Martin Sharp, 1986 Garry Shead

Oz and beyond

Magazine article by Diana Warnes, 2007

Martin Sharp fulfils the Pop art idiom of merging art and life.

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© National Portrait Gallery 2020
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Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.