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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 musician. The O'Doherty family came from New Zealand to Sydney in 1969, when Chris commenced study at the National Art School. In 1976 he became a founding member of Mental as Anything, one of Australia's most successful bands. All the band's original members are visual artists including O'Doherty's brother Peter, with whom he formed the band Dog Trumpet in 1991. From 1976 O'Doherty designed prints for the surfwear label Mambo, devising the flatulent dog, demons and incarnations of 'Australian Jesus' in distinctively Australian settings that also recurred for many years in his paintings. His work Bush Suburbs was printed on the lining of the Australian team blazer for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and several of his creations featured in the closing ceremony of the games. Over the past two decades, he has participated in many group shows and held several solo exhibitions at Watters Gallery, Sydney, becoming well known for his evocative landscapes and views of workaday dwellings.

O’Doherty has been painting self-portraits since he was fifteen. This irreverent example, painted in his trademark comic-book colour and quirky perspective, shows he is not afraid of making fun of himself.

Purchased with funds provided by the Circle of Friends 2007
© Chris O'Doherty

Artist and subject

Chris O'Doherty (age 52 in 2003)

Supported by

National Portrait Gallery Circle of Friends (16 portraits 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.

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)

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.

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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 National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency