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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

Accession number: 2010.142

Currently on display: Gallery Three (Robert Oatley Gallery)

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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)

Related information

The Companion

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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, 2008 Peter Hudson
Neil Murray, 2008 Peter Hudson
Neil Murray, 2008 Peter Hudson
Neil Murray, 2008 Peter Hudson

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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Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
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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.