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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.

Dan Sultan, 2011

Martin Philbey

type C photograph on paper (frame: 92.7 cm x 123.8 cm)

Dan Sultan (b. 1983), singer- songwriter, was born in Melbourne, his father Irish and his mother of the Arrernte and Gurindji people of the Northern Territory. He wrote his first song at age ten and was 22 when he released his debut album, Homemade Biscuits (2006). Included on it was the single ‘Your love is like a song’, which won himthe Deadly Award for Single of the Year in 2007. Sultan’s second album, Get Out While You Can (2009), reached number 1 on the independent Australian charts and in 2010 won him the ARIAs for best male artist and best blues & roots album; the Deadlys for best single and best male artist; and the Australian Independent Record Label Association awards for best independent artist and best independent blues & roots album. Having appeared with Paul Kelly and others on the Kev Carmody tribute album Cannot Buy My Soul (2007) he made his screen debut in the 2009 film Bran Nue Day. The album Blackbird (2014), recorded in Nashville, won the ARIA for best rock album. Sultan’s subsequent releases include Killer (2017) and an album for children, Nali and Friends (2019).

This portrait was a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize in 2012. Martin Philbey said he wanted to show Sultan ‘stripped back to the essence of his being, with no other distractions. Everything that makes him who he is is on display’.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Ruth and Peter McMullin 2013
© Martin Philbey

Accession number: 2013.30

Currently not on display

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National Photographic Portrait Prize 2012 Finalist

Artist and subject

Martin Philbey (age 49 in 2011)

Dan Sultan (age 28 in 2011)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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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.

Dan Sultan, 2011 Martin Philbey
Dan Sultan, 2011 Martin Philbey
Dan Sultan, 2011 Martin Philbey
Dan Sultan, 2011 Martin Philbey

Dan the man

Magazine article by India Bednall, 2015

Martin Philbey’s portrait of Dan Sultan.

Paul Grabowsky, 2009 Martin Philbey
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Paul Grabowsky, 2009 Martin Philbey
Paul Grabowsky, 2009 Martin Philbey

Feel the music

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2010

Dr Christopher Chapman discusses the portrait of Australian composer Paul Grabowsky by photographer Martin Philbey.

Layne Beachley, 2008 Petrina Hicks
Layne Beachley, 2008 Petrina Hicks
Layne Beachley, 2008 Petrina Hicks
Layne Beachley, 2008 Petrina Hicks

Collection: Icons

Volume One

Previous exhibition, 2018

When a portrait communicates determination and individuality as boldly as these do, it has the potential to become an iconic image. For the Gallery’s 20th birthday this display brings together a group contemporary photographic portraits of inspiring women and men.

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© National Portrait Gallery 2020
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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.