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Kumantjayi Perkins at the Roma Forum, Brisbane
, 1982

by Juno Gemes

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 51.0 cm x 60.8 cm, image: 29.4 cm x 44.1 cm)

Charles Perkins AO (1936-2000) was an administrator and Aboriginal activist. Of Arrernte and Kalkadoon descent, he lived in the NT until he was ten, when he was taken to Adelaide. After qualifying as a fitter and turner and playing professional soccer in England, in 1966 he became one of the first Aboriginal people to obtain a BA from the University of Sydney. In 1966 he was the only indigenous participant in the anti-discrimination 'freedom rides' through country NSW. Manager of the Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs from 1965 to 1969, in 1972 he helped to create the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee. He was chair of the Aboriginal Development Commission from 1980, and the Arrernte Council of Central Australia between 1991 and 1994; he was head of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs from 1984 to 1988 and deputy chairman of ATSIC from 1994 to 1995. In his last years he was vice-president of the Australian Soccer Federation.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the artist 2004
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2004.152