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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.

Andy Thomas

2002
Montalbetti + Campbell

inkjet print on paper (frame: 142.7 cm x 112.6 cm, sight: 138.5 cm x 108.2 cm)

Andy Thomas AO (b. 1951), astronaut, joined NASA in 1992 having gained a PhD in mechanical engineering in his hometown of Adelaide. He completed his initial training at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas in 1993 and undertook training for long-duration space missions in Russia. He made his first space flight in 1996 and in 1998 boarded the Endeavour space shuttle to work at the Mir space station. As part of the 2001 Discovery mission, he completed a six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk to install components to the International Space Station. In 2005 he flew on the STS114 Discovery mission, undertaking new methods to inspect the orbiter in flight and to verify its fitness for re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. He retired from NASA in 2014 having logged more than 177 days in space.

Commissioned to create this work, Canadian-born photographers Denis Montalbetti and Gay Campbell conceived of a heroic portrait evoking the sense of courage and discovery associated with images of the early days of space exploration. Photographing Thomas in his NASA spacesuit was central to the concept, but the suits are so valuable they are not allowed to leave NASA facilities. So the artists went to Houston for the shoot. They had the backdrop – representing Earth as seen from space – fabricated beforehand, so that they could create the image they'd planned.

Commissioned with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2002
© Montalbetti & Campbell

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

Montalbetti + Campbell

Andy Thomas AO (age 51 in 2002)

Subject professions

Science and technology

Supported by

The Gordon Darling Foundation (36 portraits supported)

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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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency