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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.

Me, 1992

Ken Done

oil and synthetic polymer paint on canvas (frame: 119.7 cm x 94.5 cm, support: 102 cm x 76 cm)

Ken Done AM (b. 1940), painter, studied at East Sydney Technical College before becoming an advertising graphic designer. Having achieved great success in this field – he won a Cannes Gold Lion in 1967 – he gave it up to paint full-time in 1980, working from a ‘cabin’ below his home at Chinaman’s Beach on Sydney Harbour. Soon, his stylised, colourful representations of Sydney’s beaches, harbour, animals and flowers found their way onto placemats, t-shirts, bibs, swimwear, bedlinen, mugs and vases; in the 1990s, the walls, ceiling and some furniture in the Garden Restaurant at the Powerhouse Museum were covered with murals by the artist. His crucial role in promoting Sydney as a tourist destination, particularly in Japan, is now widely acknowledged. Until this self-portrait was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery, no major Australian gallery held an example of his work, but his business has stayed strong, and his paintings still sell well, particularly in the UK and Japan. The genial artist was named Australia’s Father of the Year in 1989, Mosman Citizen of the Year in 1993, Australia’s Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF in 1993 and a Taronga Zoo Centenary Ambassador (promoting awareness of difficulties facing sea turtles) in 2016. Done’s memoir Ken Done: A life coloured in was published in 2016 and his Ken Done: Paintings you probably haven’t seen in 2017.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2009
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Ken Done

Accession number: 2009.33

Currently on display: Gallery Five (John Schaeffer Gallery)

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Artist and subject

Ken Done (age 52 in 1992)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Ken Done (2 portraits)

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.

Ken Done video: 3 minutes 36 seconds
Ken Done video: 3 minutes 36 seconds
Ken Done video: 3 minutes 36 seconds
Ken Done video: 3 minutes 36 seconds

Ken Done

'I am very Sydney'

Portrait story

Iconic Australian artist Ken Done discusses his life and career as a painter.

Me, 1992 Ken Done
Me, 1992 Ken Done
Me, 1992 Ken Done
Me, 1992 Ken Done

Donated duo

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Dr Sarah Engledow writes about the gift of two striking paintings by the Australian artist Ken Done AM.

Creatures of Leisure series (David 'Bird' Twohill), 1982 Paul Worstead
Creatures of Leisure series (David 'Bird' Twohill), 1982 Paul Worstead
Creatures of Leisure series (David 'Bird' Twohill), 1982 Paul Worstead
Creatures of Leisure series (David 'Bird' Twohill), 1982 Paul Worstead

Electric!

Portraits that pop!

Previous exhibition, 2018

Celebrate the Gallery’s 20th birthday summer with Electric! Portraits that pop! The collection exhibition features a mix of bright, bold and colourful paintings, prints and photographs, and buoyant video 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.