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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.

Mark Ella

2015
Nikki Toole

type C photograph on paper (frame: 126.7 cm x 106.5 cm, image: 118.8 cm x 98.5 cm)

Mark Ella AM (b. 1959) was one of four Australians named among the eleven 'legends' of the International Rugby Board Hall of Fame in 2013. From a family of twelve children, Mark, his twin Glen and brother Gary all represented the Australian Schoolboys in 1976, and played for the side in Britain in 1977–1978. From 1979, Mark was five-eighth for Randwick, playing in eight grand finals. He made his Test debut as part of the Bledisloe Cup-winning side in New Zealand in 1980. In all, he played 26 Tests for Australia, captaining the side in ten. A founding director of the communications, marketing and events management company Horton Ella, he is now the executive producer of NITV Sport at SBS Australia, and is chairman of the NSW and ACT Indigenous Cricket Advisory Committee.

Nikki Toole's portraits are driven by the desire to understand her subjects. To prepare for her portrait of Ella, she read his autobiography and was impressed by his energy, willingness to take risks and his thoughtfulness. For this photo, Toole asked Ella not to think about her taking his photograph. She took about three shots, and she knew the second one was 'the one'.

Commissioned with funds from the Patrick Corrigan Portrait Commission Series 2015
© Nikki Toole

Artist and subject

Nikki Toole (age 50 in 2015)

Mark Ella AM (age 56 in 2015)

Subject professions

Sports and recreation

Supported by

Patrick Corrigan AM (13 portraits supported)

Related portraits

1. Rosie Batty, 2017. 2. Tilman Ruff, 2019. All Nikki Toole.

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.

Tilman Ruff

'To literally save the world'

Portrait story

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Professor Tilman Ruff AO has focused his efforts on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.

Nikki Toole

'Beauty and strength'

Portrait story

Photographer Nikki Toole describes the creation of her portrait of Rosie Batty.

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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