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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.

Self portrait with Spots and Veins, 2003

Chris O'Doherty

synthetic polymer paint on canvas (support: 76.0 cm x 56.0 cm)

Chris O'Doherty, also known as Reg Mombassa, is an artist and guitarist. The O'Doherty family came from New Zealand to Sydney in 1969, when Chris began study at the National Art School. In 1976 he became a founding member of Mental as Anything, one of Australia's most successful pop bands. All its original members are visual artists including O'Doherty's brother Peter, with whom he formed the band Dog Trumpet in 1991. From 1976 Chris O'Doherty designed prints for the surfwear label Mambo, devising the flatulent dog, demons and versions of Jesus in distinctively Australian settings that still recur in his paintings. He has participated in many group shows since 1976; his latest solo exhibition, including characteristic evocative landscapes and pictures of workaday dwellings, is Recent developments in anti-social realism (2005) at Watters Gallery, Sydney.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by the Circle of Friends 2007
© Chris O'Doherty

Accession number: 2007.25

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Chris O'Doherty (age 52 in 2003)

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.

Interview with Chris O'Doherty video: 2 minutes
Interview with Chris O'Doherty video: 2 minutes
Interview with Chris O'Doherty video: 2 minutes
Interview with Chris O'Doherty video: 2 minutes

Chris O'Doherty (Reg Mombassa)

Self Portrait with spots and veins

Portrait story

An interview with iconic Australian artist, Chris O'Doherty (otherwise known as Reg Mombassa)

Self portrait with Spots and Veins, 2003 Chris O'Doherty
Self portrait with Spots and Veins, 2003 Chris O'Doherty
Self portrait with Spots and Veins, 2003 Chris O'Doherty
Self portrait with Spots and Veins, 2003 Chris O'Doherty

Mental as everything

Magazine article by Diana Warnes, 2006

Chris O'Doherty, also known as Reg Mombassa, is best-known for his Mambo imagery but he also paints a lot of self portraits.

Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell

Eye to eye

Previous exhibition, 2019

Eye to Eye is a summer Portrait Gallery Collection remix arranged by degree of eye contact – from turned away with eyes closed all the way through to right-back-at-you – as we explore artists’ and subjects’ choices around the direction of the gaze.

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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.