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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.

Samantha Cook

c. 2000
Penny Tweedie

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 31.2 cm x 50.8 cm, image: 28.0 cm x 40.6 cm)

Samantha Cook is a Nyikina woman from the north-west Kimberley region of Western Australia who is based between Los Angeles and Australia. Cook is a playwright, writer, artist, graphic designer, educator, arts manager and leader in Indigenous arts. She began her career in publishing as the first Aboriginal graphic designer for Magabala Books in Broome. Awarded National NAIDOC Female Youth of the Year in 1999 and Broome Aboriginal Artist of the Year in 1998, Cook was the founding Aboriginal columnist for Artshub and Tracker, and founder of Australia's Blak History Month. A retired musician, she was the director of The Dreaming Festival and a programmer of the Woodford Folk Festival. She became the CEO of Aboriginal theatre company Yirra Yaakin before launching KMBA Agency, an international arts, entertainment and event management company. Recipient of the UK Arts Council Fellowship in 2007 and 2011, Cook is also co-founder of a multi award-winning tech start-up Kaltja (pronounced Culture) and led the social change movement #SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA. In 2020 she joined the board of the Australian Music Alliance.

Penny Tweedie spent a year travelling around Australia in 2000 photographing and interviewing successful young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, which resulted in her 2001 book Indigenous Australia: Standing Strong. When Tweedie took this photo, Cook was working as a book designer in Broome.

Gift of the artist 2004
© Estate of Penny Tweedie

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.

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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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