Skip to main content

Coming to visit? Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage your visit so please book ahead. Need to cancel or rejig? Email bookings@npg.gov.au

Menu

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.

Deborah Mailman

1999
Evert Ploeg

oil on jute (frame: 178.0 cm x 148.0 cm, support: 167.0 cm x 137.0 cm)

Deborah Mailman AM (b. 1972) was in her early twenties when she co-devised and appeared in the one-woman stage show Seven Stages of Grieving, which was later staged in London. In 1998, for her performance in the film Radiance, she became the first Aboriginal woman to win Best Actress at the Australian Film Institute Awards; five years later she was named the NAIDOC Person of the Year. In 2012, she won Best Lead Actress for her role in The Sapphires (2011) at the AACTA Awards. For Mabo (2012) and Redfern Now: Promise Me (2015), she won Most Outstanding Actress at the 2013 and 2016 Logies. In 2019 she starred in the ABC series Total Control, for which she won the AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in a TV drama; the second series is scheduled for 2021.

Evert Ploeg painted this work on a panel of jute which he sourced from an old wool bale located in the rafters of his barn-like studio. 'I needed someone who was earthy, Australian, and my mind just naturally went to Deborah.' In speaking about the portrait to the Sydney Morning Herald, Mailman said: 'I feel he has brought to light a deeper, more contemplative side of myself.' The work was a 1999 Archibald Prize finalist.

Purchased 2000
© Evert Ploeg/Copyright Agency, 2021

Audio description icon

Audio description

3 minutes 19 seconds
Show transcript

Artist and subject

Evert Ploeg (age 36 in 1999)

Deborah Mailman (age 27 in 1999)

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.

Deborah Mailman by Evert Ploeg

Portrait story

An interview with artist Evert Ploeg about his portrait of the Australian actor Deborah Mailman.

The Secret Life of Deb

Magazine article by Michelle Fracaro, 2003

Australian actress Deborah Mailman is the subject of a unique portrait by Evert Ploeg.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency