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Ruby Hunter
, 1996 (printed 2012)

by Jacqueline Mitelman

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 63.8 cm x 54.7 cm, image: 43.2 cm x 34.0 cm, frame: depth 4.2 cm)

Ruby Hunter (1955–2010), singer/songwriter, was a Ngarrindjeri/ Kukatha/ Pitjantjatjara woman from South Australia. Taken from her family at age eight and raised in foster care, Hunter was sixteen and homeless when she met Archie Roach at a Salvation Army drop-in centre. They were inseparable partners for life. The first Aboriginal woman signed to a major record label, Hunter released her first album, Thoughts within, in 1994. Her second, Feeling good, won her the Deadly Award in 2000 for female artist of the year. She made her acting debut in One Night the Moon (2001) directed by Rachel Perkins and starring Paul Kelly. She won the Deadly Award for outstanding contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music in 2003 and with Roach and Paul Grabowsky won another in 2004 for Ruby’s Story. Both solo and with Roach, Hunter recorded and performed with many top Australian and international acts. She and Roach won the Sydney Myer Performing Arts Award in 2009. Following her death at age 54, Archie Roach established the Ruby Hunter Foundation to continue her work in supporting and celebrating Indigenous arts and culture.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012
Accession number: 2012.39