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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.

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

Peter Garrett AM (b. 1953), musician, environmental activist and former politician, is the lead singer of the band Midnight Oil, which originated around Sydney’s northern beaches in the mid-1970s. Following his 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 world-wide. It included the hit ‘Beds are Burning’, performed provocatively at the close of the 2000 Olympics. Martin Rotsey, Rob Hirst, Peter Garrett, 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. Between 2004 and 2013, while Labor member for the Federal seat of Kingsford Smith, Garrett served as minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts and school education, early childhood and youth. Garrett resigned from politics in 2013; his memoir, Big Blue Sky, was published in 2015 and he released 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

Accession number: 2001.192.4

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

eX de Medici (age 42 in 2001)

Peter Garrett (age 48 in 2001)

Rob Hirst (age 46 in 2001)

Jim Moginie

Martin Rotsey

Dwayne Hillman

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.

Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground, 2001 eX de Medici
Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground, 2001 eX de Medici
Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground, 2001 eX de Medici
Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground, 2001 eX de Medici

Seduce and Destroy

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2001

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

Johnny O'Keefe "A little bit louder now...", 1999 Ivan Durrant
Johnny O'Keefe "A little bit louder now...", 1999 Ivan Durrant
Johnny O'Keefe "A little bit louder now...", 1999 Ivan Durrant
Johnny O'Keefe "A little bit louder now...", 1999 Ivan Durrant

Making Portraits

Five Years of National Portrait Gallery Commissions

Previous exhibition, 2004

The considered matching of artist to subject has produced an amazing collection of unique and original works in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

The Gallery

Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

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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.