Skip to main content

To help keep our visitors and staff safe, please book your spot before visiting.

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.

Preparatory study for 'Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground'. Test #4 Broadhead and wing pattern

2001
eX de Medici

watercolour, gouache, mangrove bark dye with alum on vellum (13.0 cm x 12.3 cm)

Peter Garrett AM (b. 1953), musician, environmental and social activist, and former politician, is the lead singer of the band Midnight Oil, which originated in Sydney's northern beaches in the mid-1970s. Garrett joined the band following studies in politics and law at university. From the start, the Oils' songs aggressively addressed social concerns such as the environment, uranium mining and Aboriginal rights. In 1987 they released their eighth album, Diesel and Dust, which sold more than two million copies worldwide. It included the hit 'Beds are Burning', performed provocatively by the band at the close of the 2000 Olympics in black overalls printed with the word 'sorry'. Garrett, Martin Rotsey, Rob Hirst, Jim Moginie and Bones Hillman effectively disbanded in December 2002. Garrett had become president of the Australian Conservation Foundation in 1989, and continued in the position until 1993; he was president again from 1998 to 2004. Garrett entered Federal Parliament in 2004 as Labor member for Kingsford Smith. Following Labor's victory in the 2007 election he served as Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, where he was instrumental in the campaign against 'scientific whaling' in the Antarctic. He became Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth in 2010. After resigning from politics in 2013, he released his memoir, Big Blue Sky, in 2015, and a solo album, A Version of Now, the following year. Midnight Oil's successful 'Great Circle' world tour of 2017 comprised more than 70 shows across fourteen countries. In 2019, Garrett received an Honorary Doctorate from the Australian National University.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Commissioned with funds from the Basil Bressler Bequest 2001
© eX de Medici

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

eX de Medici (age 42 in 2001)

Midnight Oil

Peter Garrett AM (age 48 in 2001)

Rob Hirst (age 46 in 2001)

Jim Moginie

Martin Rotsey

Dwayne Hillman (age 43 in 2001)

Supported by

Basil P. Bressler (48 portraits supported)

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.

Peter Schipperheyn with bust of Peter Garrett
Peter Schipperheyn with bust of Peter Garrett
Peter Schipperheyn with bust of Peter Garrett
Peter Schipperheyn with bust of Peter Garrett

Peter Schipperheyn

'A quintessential Australian character'

Portrait story

Sculptor Peter Schipperheyn talks about working with marble and his portrait of Peter Garrett.

Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground
Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground
Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground
Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground

Seduce and Destroy

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2001

Magda Keaney explores the symbolism in eX de Medici's portrait of Midnight Oil.

© 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 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