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Kerry Walker, c. 1979

Stuart Campbell

gelatin silver photograph (image: 20.3 cm x 13.7 cm, frame: depth 4.3 cm)

Kerry Walker AM, actor, graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1974. After a stint with the Melbourne Theatre Company’s Theatre-in-Education program, she spent 1976 with the new Hunter Valley Theatre Company before returning to Sydney to perform at Marian Street, Jane Street, the Old Tote and the Nimrod. From the time Jim Sharman cast her in the lead of the film of Patrick White’s short story The Night the Prowler in 1977, she was White’s protégée, friend and muse. White wrote roles in Signal Driver and Netherwood for her; both plays pioneered in Adelaide, where Walker was a member of Jim Sharman’s Lighthouse ensemble. In Sydney, she appeared in The Ham Funeral, A Cheery Soul, and (in a different role) Signal Driver, which inaugurated the Belvoir Street Theatre in 1985. In 1987 White wrote Shepherd on the Rocks for Walker and John Gaden. Having won the Victorian Green Room Award for best actress in Pack of Lies in 1984, she won the same award in 1989 for the solo show Knuckledusters, which she wrote and performed. In 1990 she received an Australian Artist’s Creative Fellowship (a ‘Keating’). Her film roles, typically minor yet memorable, encompass Bliss (1985), The Piano (1993), The Dish (2000), Looking for Alibrandi (2000), Moulin Rouge (2001) and Australia (2008). On stage she acted in The Unexpected Man (with John Gaden) (2000), A Hard God (2006), The Madwoman of Chaillot (2007), The Hypocrite (2008), The Man From Mukinupin (2009) and Life Without Me (2010). Her many television credits include a regular role in Grass Roots (2003).

Stuart Campbell photographed Kerry Walker in the living room of his tiny apartment in Hall Street, Bondi. Unhappy with what she was wearing, he put her in one of his own shirts and rigged up a piece of black photographic cloth to look like a flared skirt.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the Estate of Stuart Campbell 2012

Accession number: 2012.16

Currently on display: Gallery Seven (Ian Potter Gallery)

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Artist and subject

Stuart Campbell (age 20 in 1979)

Kerry Walker AM (age 31 in 1979)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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