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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.

Peter Skrzynecki

2012
John Slaytor

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 43.2 cm x 67.2 cm, image: 33.2 cm x 49.9 cm)

Of Polish/Ukrainian descent, Peter Skrzynecki was born in 1945 in Germany and came to Australia with his parents in 1949. They lived in migrant camps in Bathurst and Parkes. In 1951 the family moved to Sydney, where Skrzynecki, at St Patrick’s College in Strathfield met an English teacher who inspired in him a love of literature. In 1966, he completed a Teacher Training Course and taught in small schools in western New South Wales before commencing external studies as a university student through the University of New England. He graduated with a BA in 1975 and when on to complete postgraduate studies, gaining an MA from the University of Sydney in 1984. During this period, he continued to teach in public schools in Sydney. Skrzynecki had begun writing poetry in 1964 and had his first poems published in Poetry Magazine in 1967. His third book, Immigrant Chronicle, was published by the University of Queensland Press in 1975 and detailed the immigrant experiences of exile and dispossession. He has since published 15 books of poetry and prose. Awards include Captain Cook Bi-Centennial Award, Grace Leven Poetry Prize, Henry Lawson Short Story Award. His book, The Sparrow Garden, published in 2004 was shortlisted for the National Biography Award. In 1989, he received the Order of Cultural Merit from the Polish Government and in 2002 the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his contribution to multicultural literature. Peter Skrzynecki is an associate professor in the School of Humanities at the University of Western Sydney.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2013
© John Slaytor

Artist and subject

John Slaytor (age 46 in 2012)

Peter Skrzynecki OAM (age 67 in 2012)

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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