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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.

Tommy Emmanuel

1993
Jim Rolon

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 35.5 cm x 27.2 cm, image: 24.8 cm x 24.5 cm)
Image not available (NC)

Tommy Emmanuel AM (b. 1955), guitarist, was taught to play by his mother and is said to have been a working musician by the age of six. He and his brother, Phil, toured the country with their parents, playing in one town after another until the boys were compelled by law to attend school. Having settled in Parkes when he was eleven, Tommy played in various Sydney bands through the 1970s, made his first album in 1979 and joined the re-formed Dragon for much of the 1980s. In 1987 he released his second album, Up from Down Under; he has since released more than twenty albums, and has won international renown as a fingerpicking star. In 1997, when the pair made a recording together, legendary guitarist Chet Atkins called Emmanuel ‘one of the greatest guitar players I’ve ever seen’. Tommy and Phil Emmanuel played together at the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Although he experienced a heart health scare and exhaustion in 2007, in 2008 and 2010 he was Guitar Player magazine’s readers’ choice for the best acoustic guitarist and continues to tour and record.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Wayne Williams 2012

Artist and subject

Jim Rolon (age 37 in 1993)

Tommy Emmanuel (age 38 in 1993)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Supported by

Wayne Williams (30 portraits supported)

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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