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Charles Teo

2012
Adam Chang

oil on canvas (support: 140.4 cm x 162.3 cm)

Charles Teo AM (b. 1957) is a neurosurgeon. Born in Sydney, where he attended Scots College and graduated in medicine and surgery from the University of New South Wales, he worked for some years at the Children’s Medical Center, Dallas, Texas and was Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Arkansas. Developing a reputation in the field of minimally-invasive (or ‘keyhole’) neurosurgery, he has been invited speaker and visiting professor in more than thirty-five countries, associated with such institutions as Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, Albert Einstein University, Marburg University and the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. He has written some thirty book chapters and scores of scholarly papers. While still teaching regularly in the USA, he also teaches and sponsors the education of neurosurgeons from developing countries such as Peru, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Romania, and treats children from developing countries with neurological conditions. Based at the Prince of Wales Private Hospital, he is currently the director of the Centre for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery, president of Think First Australasia (established for the prevention of brain and spinal cord injuries), a Founding Board Member of VINE (Volunteers for International Neurosurgical Education), the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board and founder of the Cure For Life Foundation. He has been featured on Australian Story several times, 60 Minutes, Good Medicine and Today Tonight. As a media-aware, charismatic and outspoken surgeon, he is not without detractors within his profession; yet he was recently named the Readers’ Digest Most Trusted Australian for the second time. In 2012 he gave the Australia Day Address, a humorous and largely positive lecture in which he nonetheless reflected on his own experience of racism, suspicion and the dearth of research opportunities in his own birthplace.

Adam Chang (Hong Jun Zhang) (b. 1960), born in Shanghai, began showing in major exhibitions in China in the early 1980s and held his first solo exhibition in 1985. From 1989 to 1993 he studied at the Fine Arts Academy, Shanghai University; he was awarded the Shanghai Art Critics’ Prize in 1992. Chang migrated to Australia in 1997 and settled in Sydney. Since then, he has been an Archibald Prize finalist six times, winning the People’s Choice award in 2011. In early 2011 the animal-protection organisation Voiceless staged a fund-raising event. Those who bought gold raffle tickets went into a draw for the chance to win a commissioned portrait by Adam Chang. Eleonora Triguboff, publisher of the journal Art & Australia, won the prize and initiated a portrait of Charles Teo, who is a Voiceless council member.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Eleonora Triguboff 2013
© Adam Chang

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

Adam Chang (age 52 in 2012)

Charles Teo AM (age 55 in 2012)

Subject professions

Health and medicine

Donated by

Eleonora Triguboff (1 portrait)

Related information

The Companion

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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.

Charles Teo
Charles Teo
Charles Teo
Charles Teo

Charlie's angles

Magazine article by Stephen Phillips, 2017

Stephen Phillips talks to neurosurgeon Charlie Teo about his practice, perspectives and the anatomy of hope.

Charlie Teo

'I would love to be considered mainstream'

Portrait story

Acclaimed neurosurgeon, Charlie Teo discusses the pressures of his career.

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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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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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.

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