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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.

Joe and Brenda, from the portfolio "Michael Riley Portraits 1984-1990", 1990 (printed 2013)

Michael Riley

inkjet print on paper (frame: 55.0 cm x 43.4 cm, image: 53.0 cm x 41.0 cm)

Brenda Croft, artist, curator, lecturer and freelance writer, is from the Gurindji nation in the Northern Territory. Following study at the Canberra School of Art, she was a founder member of the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative in Sydney, and gained her master's degree in Art Administration in 1995. She was the first Australian recipient of the Chicago Artists International Program grant in 1996, and the following year she was resident artist at the Australia Council Greene St Studio in New York. Administrative posts she has held include those of general manager of the Boomalli cooperative, and project manager of the inaugural National Indigenous School in New Media Art at the School of Fine Arts of the NT University. She has lectured in art theory at the School of Art at the ANU and researched and commented on Aboriginal (particularly women's) issues for the ABC and SBS. Major shows she has curated include fluent: Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Yvonne Koolmatrie and Judy Watson at the 47th Venice Biennale in 1997 and Beyond the Pale: Adelaide Biennale of Australian Art for the Telstra Adelaide Festival in 2000. Her own work has been exhibited at the Biennales of Venice, Sydney, Melbourne, Noumea and Johannesburg. In 2000 her major commissioned work Wuganmagulya (Farm Cove) was officially launched as part of the Sydney City Council's Sculpture Walk at the Royal Botanic Gardens, and another commissioned work was unveiled at Sydney International Airport. She is also represented in the NGA, the AGNSW, the AGWA, the NGV, the MAGNT and many other public and private collections.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2013
© Michael Riley Foundation

Accession number: 2013.50.14

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Michael Riley (age 30 in 1990)

Brenda L. Croft (age 26 in 1990)

Joseph Croft (age 64 in 1990)

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.

Michael Riley's portraits video: 4 mins
Michael Riley's portraits video: 4 mins
Michael Riley's portraits video: 4 mins
Michael Riley's portraits video: 4 mins

Michael Riley's portraits

Portrait story

Linda Burney, Brenda Croft and Darrell Sibosado share memories of Michael Riley and his photographic practice.

Tracey, from the portfolio "Michael Riley Portraits 1984-1990", 1986 (printed 2013) Michael Riley
Tracey, from the portfolio "Michael Riley Portraits 1984-1990", 1986 (printed 2013) Michael Riley
Tracey, from the portfolio "Michael Riley Portraits 1984-1990", 1986 (printed 2013) Michael Riley
Tracey, from the portfolio "Michael Riley Portraits 1984-1990", 1986 (printed 2013) Michael Riley

Sophisticated and glamorous

Magazine article by Amanda Rowell, 2015

Michael Riley’s early portraits by Amanda Rowell.

Hetti, from the portfolio "Michael Riley Portraits 1984-1990", 1990 (printed 2013) Michael Riley
Hetti, from the portfolio "Michael Riley Portraits 1984-1990", 1990 (printed 2013) Michael Riley
Hetti, from the portfolio "Michael Riley Portraits 1984-1990", 1990 (printed 2013) Michael Riley
Hetti, from the portfolio "Michael Riley Portraits 1984-1990", 1990 (printed 2013) Michael Riley

Beauty and strength

Portraits by Michael Riley

Previous exhibition, 2014

Influential Indigenous Australian artist Michael Riley (1960 - 2004) created these portrait photographs between 1984 and 1990 - they stand as an intricately connected group portrait of the vibrant urban-based Indigenous arts community in Sydney's inner-west at a formative moment.

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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.