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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.

Robyn Archer, 1982

Robert McFarlane

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 40.5 cm x 30.1 cm, image: 34.5 cm x 23.1 cm)

Robyn Archer AO, singer, actor, director and artistic director of two Adelaide Festivals (in 1998 and 2000) and the Melbourne Festival was photographed in 1982 in characteristic vaudeville costume. The multi-talented performer had performed in a series of shows, all critical and popular sucesses - Kold Komfort Kafe, A Star is Torn and Tonight: Lola Blau - when she spoke to Lea Mason for POL. Her most recent show, Robyn Archer At Large, with a heavy emphasis on the spoken word and a serious attention to Brecht and Weill, had received bad press. Lea Mason explained: 'She brings to her performances a deeply felt philosophical commitment, an aesthetic standard and a political committment that is rare, harking back to those Weimar artists like Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill with whom she shares a marked affinity'.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2003
© Robert McFarlane/Copyright Agency, 2020

Accession number: 2003.121

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Robert McFarlane (age 40 in 1982)

Robyn Archer AO (age 34 in 1982)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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.

Rosie Batty, 2017 Nikki Toole
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Express Yourself

Previous exhibition, 2018

This exhibition celebrates Australians whose unique life experiences symbolise social and cultural forces. Uncompromising individuality defines them. The portraits are drawn from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection of contemporary photography and drawing.

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The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

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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.