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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.

Justine Saunders, 1994 (printed 2003)

Juno Gemes

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 60.8 cm x 51.0 cm, image: 44.2 cm x 29.0 cm)

Justine Saunders (1953-2007) of the Woppaburra people from the Kanomie clan of Keppel Island, was an actor who amassed a solid body of credits in film, television and theatre. For TV she appeared in such in classic Australian series as Against the Wind, Number 96, Prisoner, The Flying Doctors and Heartland. Her extensive theatre credits include The Crucible (Sydney Theatre Company) and Marginal Farm (Melbourne Theatre Company). Her film credits include The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978), The Fringe Dwellers (1985) and Until the End of the World (1991). In 1985 she was named Australia's Aboriginal Artist of the Year. In 1987 she co-directed the first National Black Playwrights Conference.  In 1999 she was the recipient of the Australia Council's Red Ochre Award, awarded annually to an artist of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander for outstanding contribution to the arts.  In 1991 Saunders was award a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her services to the performing arts and to the National Aboriginal Theatre, and for her help in establishing the Black Theatre and the Aboriginal National Theatre Trust.  She later returned the medal via senator Aden Ridgeway in response to the Federal Government denial of the term ‘stolen generation’ and the distress this caused her mother.  At the 2002 Tudawali Awards, which recognize the work of indigenous artists in film, television and video, she received the Lifetime Achievement award.  The actor passed away in Sydney in 2007 at the age of 54.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2005
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number: 2005.51

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Juno Gemes (age 50 in 1994)

Justine Saunders (age 41 in 1994)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Donated by

Juno Gemes (19 portraits)

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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.