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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.

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Mirror Mirror: Graeme Murphy

2004
Paula Dawson

holographic print etched on bronze disk on bronze figurine (including base: 33.0 cm x 14.7 cm depth 7.5 cm)

Graeme Murphy AO (b. 1950), choreographer and dancer, was the co-artistic director of the Sydney Dance Company for three decades. At fourteen he was the youngest male dancer to be accepted into The Australian Ballet School in Melbourne; he commenced with The Australian Ballet three years later and choreographed his first ballet, Ecco le Diavole, in 1971. After dancing with the Royal Ballet in England and Les Ballets Félix Blaska in France, he was appointed artistic director of the Sydney Dance Company (then known as The Dance Company NSW) in 1976, helping it to become one of Australia's most successful dance companies. In 2001 Murphy was presented with a Helpmann Award for Body of Work: A Retrospective. Murphy retired from the Sydney Dance Company in 2007 after creating a repertoire of more than 50 works. Over the years he has also created productions for companies including Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, Shanghai Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera, New York. Murphy continues to direct and choreograph productions, including Turandot (2019) and The Merry Widow (2021) for Opera Australia.

In this portrait of Murphy, Paula Dawson combines an antique bronze mirror with holography, a medium for which she is recognised internationally. In the reflection is Murphy's frozen and three-dimensional figure. The result of close collaboration between Dawson and Murphy, both decided on Murphy’s pose, which was then scanned with a laser. This digitised information was used to sculpt a wax figure and generate the hologram itself.

Purchased with the assistance of Ann Lewis AM and the Basil Bressler Bequest 2004
© Paula Dawson/Copyright Agency, 2022

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

Paula Dawson (age 50 in 2004)

Graeme Murphy AO (age 54 in 2004)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Supported by

Basil P. Bressler (48 portraits supported)

Ann Lewis AM (1 portrait supported)

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
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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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