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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.

Bill Leak, 1999

Simon Obarzanek

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 35.5 cm x 28.5 cm, image: 33.8 cm x 27.5 cm)

Bill Leak (1956-2017), artist and caricaturist, trained at the Julian Ashton school in the mid-seventies and began his career painting landscapes. In 1978 he left Australia for travel and study in Europe, working for four years in a studio in Bavaria. He returned to Australia in 1982 and worked as a cartoonist at the Bulletin. In 1985 he commenced a ten-year stint as an illustrator for the Sydney Morning Herald; in 1995 he became Chief Political Illustrator for the Australian. Over the years he has painted many portraits, subjects of which include Sir Donald Bradman, Bob Hawke, Bill Hayden, Gough Whitlam and Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull. Leak has been a finalist in the Archibald 10 times, has won 7 Walkley awards, and 19 Stanley Awards from the Australian Black and White Artists' Society. He hosted a radio show, The Night Club, on ABC Radio National.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2002

Accession number: 2003.208

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Simon Obarzanek (age 31 in 1999)

Bill Leak (age 43 in 1999)

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.

Sir Donald Bradman portrait story video: 2 minutes
Sir Donald Bradman portrait story video: 2 minutes
Sir Donald Bradman portrait story video: 2 minutes
Sir Donald Bradman portrait story video: 2 minutes

Don Bradman

The creation of 'Our Don'

Portrait story

A portrait story that explores the life and times of legendary Australian cricketer Sir Donald Bradman.

Robert Hughes - Nothing if not critical, 2001 Bill Leak
Robert Hughes - Nothing if not critical, 2001 Bill Leak
Robert Hughes - Nothing if not critical, 2001 Bill Leak
Robert Hughes - Nothing if not critical, 2001 Bill Leak

Heart of Darkness

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2002

Magda Keaney talks with Bill Leak about his bold new portrait of Robert Hughes in the National Portrait Gallery collection.

123 Faces, 2002
123 Faces, 2002
123 Faces, 2002
123 Faces, 2002

123 Faces

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2002

Magda Keaney examines the 123 Faces project by Simon Obarzanek.

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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.