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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.

Jimmy Little, Dubbo Reconciliation Group Event

2000
Mervyn Bishop

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 50.8 cm x 30.4 cm, image: 38.7 cm x 26.0 cm)

Jimmy Little AO (1937–2012), singer, actor and advocate, was Australia's first Aboriginal pop star. A Yorta Yorta man, Little made his recording debut in 1956. After a 1963 national number one hit, 'Royal Telephone', which sold over 75,000 copies, he became a household name. In the 1980s, he mentored Indigenous youth at the Eora Centre in Redfern and from 2000 was a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney's Koori Centre. In 1999 his album Messenger won an ARIA Award for Best Adult Contemporary Album and he was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. Named a Living National Treasure in 2004, he won the Classic Rock Performer Mo Award following the release of his 34th album, Life's What You Make It. He founded the Jimmy Little Foundation in 2006 to improve renal health across Indigenous communities. Little won a Golden Guitar award at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2011.

In 2000, the Walk for Reconciliation across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and similar events around Australia demonstrated public support for the cause. Murri photographer Mervyn Bishop took this image of Little performing at the Dubbo Reconciliation Group event in 2000. It was shown in the exhibition of Bishop's work, A Dubbo Day With Jimmy, at Sydney's Stills Gallery from July to August 2001.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2001
© Mervyn Bishop

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

Mervyn Bishop (age 55 in 2000)

Jimmy Little AO (age 63 in 2000)

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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.

In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester

Depth of Field

Portrait Photography from the Collection

Previous exhibition, 2004

Over the last five years the National Portrait Gallery has developed a collection of portrait photographs that reflects both the strength and diversity of Australian achievement as well as the talents of our 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 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.

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