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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.

Poet Robert Adamson at Parsley Bay

2008
Juno Gemes

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 54.1 cm x 72.7 cm, image: 40.4 cm x 53.2 cm)

Robert Adamson (b. 1943), poet, divided his childhood between Neutral Bay and the Hawkesbury River, where his grandfather lived. From his teens until his mid-twenties he spent most of his time in correctional institutions, where he developed an interest in poetry. He edited the magazine New Poetry from 1968 to 1982, for part of this time with his first wife, Cheryl Creatrix, with whom he also worked on Prism Books. Since then, he has combined creative writing with reviewing, editing and publishing, from 1986 onward with his own imprint, Paper Bark Press, on which he collaborates with his wife Juno Gemes and Michael Wilding. Adamson's first book of poetry was Canticles on the Skin (1970); he took out the first of his many awards with his Collected Poems (1976), which won the Grace Leven Poetry Prize. The Clean Dark (1989) won him several major awards including both the NSW and the Victorian Premier's Awards and the Banjo Award. His autobiographical collection, Wards of the State, combining prose and poetry, was published in 1992, and the autobiography Inside Out in 2004. In between, he and Juno Gemes collaborated on The Language of Oysters (1997). For some time now, Adamson has lived on the Hawkesbury, near the place where he spent much time as a boy, and the river 'flows through' his poetry. His recent volumes include Reading the River (2004) and The Goldfinches of Baghdad (2006).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2008
© Juno Gemes/Copyright Agency, 2021

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 64 in 2008)

Robert Adamson (age 65 in 2008)

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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.

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Open Air

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Previous exhibition, 2008

Open Air is an exhibition of portraits of Australians in environments of particular significance to them.

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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.

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