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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.

Marilyn Darling AC, 2010

Anne Zahalka

colour transparency on lightbox (sheet: 119.0 cm x 82.0 cm)

Marilyn Darling AC (b. 1943), a Founding Patron of the National Portrait Gallery, was Chair of the Board of the Gallery from 2000 until 2008. Under her leadership the Gallery grew from a small institution located in Old Parliament House to a significant Federal institution in a dedicated building. Having studied science at the University of Queensland, she worked in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Melbourne in the late 1960s, and undertook postgraduate study in the Medical School of Monash University from 1973 to 1978. Soon her interests expanded to a variety of social and cultural concerns, including the Victorian Children’s Aid Society and the Victorian State Opera Foundation. By the mid-1980s she was a major patron of art, music and health in the Australian community. Soon after she married Gordon Darling in 1989, the couple convened the exhibition Uncommon Australians: Towards an Australian Portrait Gallery, which toured nationally in 1992-1993, demonstrated the potential for the institution and proved the impetus for its foundation. Since the Gallery was established in 1998 she has funded the acquisition of many remarkably diverse works for its collection. Mrs Darling is the Deputy Chair of the Gordon Darling Foundation, Melbourne, a member of the Gordon Darling Australasian Print Fund and a member of the Tate Gallery International Council.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Commissioned with funds provided by Tim Fairfax AC 2010
© Anne Zahalka

Accession number: 2010.136

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Anne Zahalka (age 53 in 2010)

Marilyn Darling AC (age 67 in 2010)

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.

Marilyn Darling interview video: 2 minutes
Marilyn Darling interview video: 2 minutes
Marilyn Darling interview video: 2 minutes
Marilyn Darling interview video: 2 minutes

Marilyn Darling

by Anne Zahalka

Portrait story

Marilyn Darling talks about the creation of her portrait, and the photographic process.

Marilyn Darling AC, 2010 Anne Zahalka
Marilyn Darling AC, 2010 Anne Zahalka
Marilyn Darling AC, 2010 Anne Zahalka
Marilyn Darling AC, 2010 Anne Zahalka

Support Crew

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2011

Portraits of philanthropists in the collection honour their contributions to Australia and acknowledge their support of the National Portrait Gallery.

The cook (Michael Schmidt/architect), 1987
The cook (Michael Schmidt/architect), 1987
The cook (Michael Schmidt/architect), 1987
The cook (Michael Schmidt/architect), 1987

Hall of mirrors

Magazine article by Naomi Cass, 2007

Naomi Cass, Director of the Centre of Contemporary Photography, in conversation with Anne Zahalka.

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
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Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.