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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.

Russell Page in Venice

1997
Brenda L Croft

triptych of type C photographs on paper (frame (each): 108.0 cm x 74.0 cm)

Russell Page (1968–2002), choreographer, dancer and actor, was from the Nunukul (Noonuccal) people and the Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh people of south-east Queensland. Formerly a talented rugby league player, at sixteen he moved to Sydney to study at the Aboriginal and Islander Dance Theatre. Overcoming his initial rebellion at the discipline of dance, he quickly became 'pure spirit' in performance, equally breathtaking as an earth-bound or aerial dancer. With brothers Stephen, an artistic director, and David, a composer, he co-founded the Bangarra Dance Theatre, and was its principal artist from 1991. He also appeared on film and television, including a role in Tracey Moffatt's Bedevil. The Bangarra production Walkabout received ecstatic reviews from critics, with Russell’s solo singled out for special praise. He died in July 2002, leaving his family, his three children, and Australian art, dance and Aboriginal communities mourning an irreplaceable loss.

In 1997 Gurindji artist Brenda L. Croft co-curated the exhibition fluent: Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Yvonne Koolmatrie and Judy Watson as Australia's contribution to the 47th Venice Biennale. Page performed his interpretation of a painting in the Australian Pavilion, for the first two weeks of the Biennale. Judy Watson painted the designs on his body with reference to the works in the exhibition. These photographs were taken by Croft in Venice shortly before one of Page's performances.

Purchased 2002
© Brenda L Croft/Copyright Agency, 2021

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

Brenda L Croft (age 33 in 1997)

Russell Page (age 29 in 1997)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Related information

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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.

Michael Riley's portraits

Portrait story

Linda Burney, Brenda Croft and Darrell Sibosado share memories of Michael Riley and his photographic practice.

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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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