Skip to main content

Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage visits to the Gallery, so please book ahead.

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.

Wan Lan, Xini, Shen Jiawei and Billy, 2010

Greg Weight

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

Shen Jiawei (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.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012
© Gregory Weight/Copyright Agency, 2020

Accession number: 2012.111

Currently not on display

Copyright image request form
Request a digital copy of an image for publication

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2011 Finalist

Artist and subject

Greg Weight (age 64 in 2010)

Wang Lan

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.

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.

Gordon Darling interview video: 2 minutes
Gordon Darling interview video: 2 minutes
Gordon Darling interview video: 2 minutes
Gordon Darling interview video: 2 minutes

Gordon Darling

by Jiawei Shen

Portrait story

Gordon Darling talks about how Jiawei Shen came to paint his portrait.

Interview with Jiawei Shen video: 2 minutes
Interview with Jiawei Shen video: 2 minutes
Interview with Jiawei Shen video: 2 minutes
Interview with Jiawei Shen video: 2 minutes

Princess Mary

Portrait story

Artist Jiawei Shen describes the symbolism in his portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
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 both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.