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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 Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Charles and Adam

1990 (printed 2013)
Michael Riley

from the series ‘Michael Riley Portraits 1984-1990’
inkjet print on paper (frame: 55.5 cm x 43.4 cm, image: 53.0 cm x 40.9 cm)

Michael Riley took this photograph of Charles Perkins AO, Arrernte and Kalkadoon Indigenous rights campaigner and bureaucrat, and his son Adam in 1990. Riley observed that 'Adam mirrors his father … Adam has this determined look. Charles has a paternal look.' As a youth in Adelaide Charles was a sought-after soccer player, playing professionally in England. Widely credited as the first Indigenous person to attain a bachelor's degree from an Australian university, in 1965 he was a prominent organiser of and participant in the anti-discrimination 'freedom rides' through country NSW. Over the course of the 1960s and 1970s he was involved in many organisations promoting Aboriginal rights, welfare and advancement. He began his Commonwealth public service career in 1969 and was Secretary at the Department of Aboriginal Affairs from 1984 to 1988.

Adam graduated from the University of New South Wales with a Bachelor of Commerce and worked in stockbroking before becoming a private investor. He is chair of the Charlie Perkins Scholarship Trust, which supports talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to undertake postgraduate study at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.

Purchased 2013
© Michael Riley/Copyright Agency, 2021

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

Michael Riley (age 30 in 1990)

Charles Perkins AO (age 54 in 1990)

Adam Perkins

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

Portrait story

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

Tracey
Tracey
Tracey
Tracey

Sophisticated and glamorous

Magazine article by Amanda Rowell, 2015

Michael Riley’s early portraits by Amanda Rowell.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

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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.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency