Skip to main content

The National Portrait Gallery is temporarily closed to the public until further notice.

Menu

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.

Lan Wang, Xini, Jiawei Shen and Billy

2010
Greg Weight

inkjet print on paper (frame: 80.0 cm x 88.0 cm depth 3.3 cm)

Jiawei Shen (b. 1948), painter, was born in China, where he grew up during the Cultural Revolution and began to gain recognition as an artist in the mid-1970s. Largely self-taught at first, when he was able to undertake formal art training in Beijing he was significantly influenced by his teacher, the famous portraitist Shangyi. He came to specialise in history paintings, and his Standing Guard for our Great Motherland (1974) was one of the best-known images in Mao's China in the late 1970s. Shen moved to Australia in 1989, to be joined much later by his wife Lan and their daughter, Xini, whom Shen first saw as a toddler in Sydney. From working as a pavement portraitist at Darling Harbour, he built a full-time painting practice. Shen's painting of Tom Hughes was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in 2005 and he was commissioned to paint Crown Princess Mary of Denmark for the Gallery the same year. He painted the National Portrait Gallery's Founding Patron, L Gordon Darling AC CMG in 2006; John Howard for Parliament House, Canberra in 2010; and Pope Francis for the Vatican in 2014. In 2016 he won the Gallipoli Art Prize.

Greg Weight's photograph of Shen with Lan, Xini, and their dog Billy was taken in Shen's studio in Bundeena, New South Wales. Behind the artist is a typically playful self-portrait, in which he appears as an Imperial court painter of yesteryear, painting Princess Mary.

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2011 Finalist

Purchased 2012
© Gregory Weight/Copyright Agency, 2021

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

Greg Weight (age 64 in 2010)

Lan Wang (age 57 in 2010)

Jiawei Shen (age 62 in 2010)

Xini

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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.

Greg Weight
Greg Weight
Greg Weight
Greg Weight

Greg Weight

'If you've ever been in love, you will know how to be a photographer'

Portrait story

Greg Weight on working with Jiawei Shen, and starting out as a photographer.

NPPP finalists
NPPP finalists
NPPP finalists
NPPP finalists

20 20

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2017

Sarah Engledow picks some favourites from a decade of the National Photographic Portrait Prize.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency