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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.

Neil Murray

2008
Peter Hudson

pastel and watercolour on paper (sheet: 122.0 cm x 86.0 cm)

Neil Murray (b. 1956), singer/songwriter, grew up in country Victoria, studied art and became a teacher. In 1980 he went to the Northern Territory, where he became a founding member of the Warumpi Band. Over three albums and twenty years of performing the Warumpi Band brought contemporary Indigenous music into the mainstream. A solo operator since 1989, Murray has released ten albums with songs in a variety of idioms, together evoking his affinity with the land and respect for Indigenous culture. He was awarded the APRA song of the year in 1995 for 'My Island Home', originally written for the Warumpi Band and re-recorded by Christine Anu. Sometimes described as one of our unofficial anthems - suitable for all who live here to sing - the song featured in the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Murray is the author of the novel Sing for me Countryman (1993), the volume of poetry One Man Tribe (1999) and the play King For This Place (1999). His song lyrics are collected in Native Born (2005), and My Island Home has recently appeared as a children's book. In 2005 Murray received a Victorian environmental achievement award for initiating 'Healing Walks' along watercourses around his home in the west of the state, and for inspiring the annual Lake Bolac Eel festival. In 2007, 'Jailanguru Pakarnu (Out From Jail)' a song he co-wrote in the Luritja language with Sammy Butcher, was acknowledged in the National Film And Sound Archive's 'Sounds Of Australia' series as a significant Australian recording. Murray performs regularly at festivals and live music venues in Australia and overseas.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2010
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Peter Hudson

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

Peter Hudson (age 58 in 2008)

Neil Murray (age 52 in 2008)

Subject professions

Activism

Performing arts

Donated by

Peter Hudson (2 portraits)

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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.

Neil Murray
Neil Murray
Neil Murray
Neil Murray

True fella

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2011

Michael Desmond profiles the Australian songwriter and performer Neil Murray and his contribution to Australian music.

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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.

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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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