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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.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Jimmy Little

2003
Juno Gemes

gelatin silver photograph on paper, edition 1/3 (sheet: 60.8 cm x 51.0 cm, image: 44.0 cm x 32.4 cm)

Jimmy Little AO (1937–2012), singer, actor and advocate, was a Yorta Yorta man raised at the Cummerangunja Mission near the Murray River, New South Wales. Australia's first Aboriginal pop star, Little made his recording debut in 1956. After a national number one hit, 'Royal Telephone', which sold over 75,000 copies, he became a household name and was named Pop Star of the Year in 1964. His profile continued to grow through TV appearances, radio airplay and regular tours around Australia. In the 1980s, Little began working at the Eora Centre in Redfern, becoming a role model and mentor for Indigenous youth. In a characteristically low-key resurgence, he won an ARIA Award for Best Adult Contemporary Album in 1999 for Messenger. The same year, he was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame and was named Best Male Artist at the Deadly Awards. He founded the Jimmy Little Foundation in 2006 to improve renal health in Indigenous communities. Little won a Golden Guitar award at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2011.

In 2003 the National Portrait Gallery exhibited Juno Gemes' solo show Proof: Portraits from the Movement 1978–2003. This image of Little was taken in his backyard in Rozelle, Sydney.

Gift of the artist 2005. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Juno Gemes/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

Juno Gemes (age 59 in 2003)

Jimmy Little AO (age 66 in 2003)

Donated by

Juno Gemes (19 portraits)

© 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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency