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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.

Lowitja O'Donoghue

2006
Robert Hannaford AM

oil on canvas (frame: 159.7 cm x 159.7 cm, support: 136.8 cm x 136.8 cm)

Lowitja O'Donoghue AC CBE (b. 1932), Indigenous rights campaigner, is a Yankunjatjara woman. Removed from her mother at the age of two, she was raised in a mission home and worked as a nurse before joining the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in 1967. By 1975, she was its regional director in South Australia. She was Foundation Chair of the National Aboriginal Conference in 1977 and chaired the Aboriginal Development Commission from 1989 to 1990. O'Donoghue was Australian of the Year in 1984, when she became the first Aboriginal person to address the General Assembly of the United Nations. While Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission between 1990 and 1996, she helped to draft the Mabo legislation. Currently she is Patron of Reconciliation South Australia and of the Lowitja Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.

Robert Hannaford said of O'Donoghue that he observed a 'vast understanding and sympathy in her face, a sadness', but also thought she looked 'fantastic in that light I've got in that studio'. The pair became friends during the many hours of sittings involved in creating the work.

Commissioned with funds donated by BHP Billiton Limited, Rio Tinto Aboriginal Fund, Newmont Australia Limited, Reconciliation Australia, Hon Paul Keating and Hon Fred Chaney 2006
© Commonwealth of Australia

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

Robert Hannaford AM (age 62 in 2006)

Dr Lowitja O'Donoghue AM CBE (age 74 in 2006)

Subject professions

Activism

Supported by

Hon. Fred Chaney (1 portrait supported)

Hon. Paul Keating (1 portrait supported)

Newmont Australia Ltd (1 portrait supported)

Reconciliation Australia (1 portrait supported)

Rio Tinto Aboriginal Fund (1 portrait supported)

BHP Billiton (1 portrait 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.

Lowitja O'Donoghue
Lowitja O'Donoghue
Lowitja O'Donoghue
Lowitja O'Donoghue

Anatomist's eye

Magazine article by Diana Warnes, 2016

Robert Hannaford has completed around 400 portraits over the span of his career. 

Dame Mabel Brookes
Dame Mabel Brookes
Dame Mabel Brookes
Dame Mabel Brookes

The hands have it

Magazine article by Angus Trumble, 2016

Angus Trumble treats the gallery’s collection with a dab hand.

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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