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Marilyn Darling AC
, 2010

by 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 to 2008. Under her leadership the Gallery grew from a small space in Old Parliament House to a significant Federal institution in its own 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 research 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. She married Gordon Darling in 1989, and soon the couple convened the exhibition Uncommon Australians: Towards an Australian Portrait Gallery, which toured nationally. It demonstrated the potential for the institution and proved to be the impetus for its foundation. Since the establishment of the Gallery in 1998 she has funded the acquisition of many diverse works for its collection. Marilyn Darling is the Deputy Chair of the Gordon Darling Foundation, Melbourne, and a member of the National Gallery of Australia’s Gordon Darling Australia Pacific Print Fund.

Anne Zahalka (b. 1957) studied in Sydney and began participating in group exhibitions in Australia and Germany in the early 1980s. Her solo exhibitions include the touring shows Woven Threads (1997– 1998) and Leisureland (1999–2001); Welcome to Sydney was shown in the International Terminal of Sydney Airport in 2003 and Hall of Mirrors: Anne Zahalka Portraits toured nationally in 2007. Zahalka has been awarded many arts grants and residencies, including a Fellowship from the Australia Council Visual Arts/Craft Board (2000) and four separate grants from the same body. She took this photograph in the Gordon Darling Hall of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia in early 2010. In the background, in the building’s forecourt, is James Angus’s sculpture Geo Face Distributor, commissioned with funds donated by L Gordon Darling AC CMG in 2009.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Commissioned with funds provided by Tim Fairfax AC 2010
Accession number: 2010.136