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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.

Bob Hawke, 2012

Luke Cornish

hand-cut acetate stencil, aerosol enamel on canvas (frame: 185.8 cm x 140.0 cm, support: 183.0 cm x 138.0 cm)

Luke Cornish, born and raised in Canberra, is a self-taught artist also known as ELK. After school he worked in construction jobs but found himself taking more and more days off to work on art projects. He fell into stencilling while studying horticulture and held his first exhibition, How you like me now bitch, in 2010. His portrait of Father Bob McGuire was a finalist in the 2012 Archibald Prize. That year, he went to Bob Hawke’s apartment overlooking Sydney Harbour to take photographs in preparation for this portrait, which was a finalist in the Moran Prize. In recent years Cornish has travelled thrice to Syria. For some years he was represented by Metro Gallery in Melbourne and Nanda\Hobbs in Sydney but has recently amicably left the dealers, telling Sally Pryor in the Canberra Times ‘I’ve pretty much once again said goodbye to financial security in order to do what I want to do’.

Aside from a plastic fruit-juice dispenser in the shape of his head, this was the first portrait of Bob Hawke acquired by the National Portrait Gallery. It was purchased from Metro Gallery in Canberra’s centenary year, 2013, largely in recognition of ELK’s success.

Robert James Lee Hawke AC GCL was Australia’s 23rd prime minister, from March 1983 to December 1991. He is the longest-serving Labor prime minister.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2013

Accession number: 2013.8

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Luke Cornish (age 33 in 2012)

Bob Hawke (age 83 in 2012)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

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.

The Honourable Bob Hawke savouring a strawberry milkshake, 2017 by Harold David
The Honourable Bob Hawke savouring a strawberry milkshake, 2017 by Harold David
The Honourable Bob Hawke savouring a strawberry milkshake, 2017 by Harold David
The Honourable Bob Hawke savouring a strawberry milkshake, 2017 by Harold David

The intellectual larrikin

Magazine article by Barrie Cassidy, 2019

Barrie Cassidy pays textured tribute to the inimitable Bob Hawke.

Bob Hawke, 2012 Luke Cornish
Bob Hawke, 2012 Luke Cornish
Bob Hawke, 2012 Luke Cornish
Bob Hawke, 2012 Luke Cornish

Primed

Some Prime Ministers

Previous exhibition, 2019

Seventeen of Australia’s thirty prime ministers to date are represented in the contrasting sizes, moods and mediums of these portraits.

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

The Gallery

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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.