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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.

Nam Le

2010
Rozalind Drummond

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 66.1 cm x 54.6 cm, image: 61.1 cm x 49.6 cm, frame: depth 4.2 cm)

Nam Le (b. 1978) came to Australia as a baby with his Vietnamese refugee parents. He graduated in Arts/Law from the University of Melbourne and worked briefly as a lawyer before moving to the USA to complete a creative writing degree at the renowned Iowa Writers' Workshop. His first book, the collection of short stories The Boat (2008), attracted favourable reviews around the world. It won the Dylan Thomas Prize, the world’s most lucrative literary award for a writer from any country under the age of thirty, the New South Wales and Queensland Premiers' Literary Awards and the Prime Minister's Literary Award. Credited with reviving publishers' faith in the short story, it been translated into fourteen languages. One reviewer wrote in 2014 that 'if all Le ever publishes is The Boat he'll still be a star'.

Rozalind Drummond's portrait of Le was taken on a summer evening in a non-descript place underneath the junction of Footscray Road, the City Link tollway and the Docklands Highway in Melbourne. The location reflects Drummond's interest in capturing the relationship of people to the urban environment with a lightness of touch and sense of empathy.

Purchased 2010
© Rozalind Drummond

Artist and subject

Rozalind Drummond (age 54 in 2010)

Nam Le (age 32 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.

High school, 2008
High school, 2008
High school, 2008
High school, 2008

Subtle emotion

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2010

Christopher Chapman considers photographer Rozalind Drummond's portrait of author Nam Le.

Bryan Brown
Bryan Brown
Bryan Brown
Bryan Brown

The Look

Previous exhibition, 2019

Featuring striking photographic portraits of contemporary figures from the National Portrait Gallery collection, The Look is an aesthetic treat with a lashing of je ne sais quoi.

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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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency