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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.

Paul Kelly

2004
Jon Campbell

synthetic polymer and enamel paint on canvas (frame: 157.5 cm x 114.0 cm depth 5.5 cm, support: 155.5 cm x 112 cm)

Paul Kelly (b. 1955), singer, songwriter and producer, grew up in Adelaide and first performed in Hobart in 1974. In Melbourne, he and his pub band The Dots made two albums before breaking up in 1982. He recorded Post in Sydney in 1985, but his major break came the following year, by which time his band was known as The Coloured Girls. Their album 'Gossip' was one of the biggest Australian records of 1986. The band made 'Under the Sun' (1987) before touring the USA as Paul Kelly and the Messengers. They disbanded in 1991, and from that point Kelly branched into producing and acting as well as writing and performing. Kelly sings with a marked Australian accent and his songs refer to specific Australian places and people; his song ‘Bradman’ is well–known, and the album Stolen Apples (2007) includes a song about Aboriginal artists Queenie McKenzie and Rover Thomas. Though he has written most of his long and poetic song list alone, he has also collaborated brilliantly, particularly with Indigenous performers including Archie Roach, Yothu Yindi and Kev Carmody, with whom he co-wrote the protest song ‘From Little Things, Big Things Grow’, relating the story of the Gurindji people’s fight for land rights in the 1960s and 70s.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds from the Basil Bressler Bequest 2004
© Jon Campbell

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

Jon Campbell (age 43 in 2004)

Paul Kelly AO (age 49 in 2004)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Supported by

Basil P. Bressler (48 portraits supported)

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.

Paul Kelly 30.11.1980 by Liz Reed
Paul Kelly 30.11.1980 by Liz Reed
Paul Kelly 30.11.1980 by Liz Reed
Paul Kelly 30.11.1980 by Liz Reed

Pop poet

Magazine article by Dr Anne Sanders, 2013

Dr Anne Sanders previews the works in the new focus exhibition Paul Kelly and The Portraits.

Paul Kelly
Paul Kelly
Paul Kelly
Paul Kelly

Before Too Long

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2004

The story behind the creation of the portrait of singer-songwriter Paul Kelly by the artist Jon Campbell.

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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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