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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.

Michelle de Kretser, Geography & History, 2013

Weng-Ho Chong

synthetic polymer paint, charcoal, pastel and conté on linen (support: 198.5 cm x 101.5 cm)

Michelle de Kretser (b. 1957), author, came to Melbourne with her Sinhalese Dutch parents in 1972. She took her master’s degree in literature in Paris and began a PhD at the University of Melbourne, where she co-founded a postgraduate journal, Antithesis. Abandoning her doctorate, she was employed by Lonely Planet, where she worked for a decade on guidebooks; she founded the company’s Paris office. Her first novel, The Rose Grower, was published in 1999. The Hamilton Case was followed by The Lost Dog, which won the 2008 NSW Premier’s Book of the Year Award and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize for Fiction the same year. In 2009 de Kretser moved to Sydney with her partner and dogs. Her fourth novel, Questions of Travel (2012) was widely reviewed in Australia, the UK and the USA. It won the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Prime Minister’s Award for Fiction in 2013, and at the 2014 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards it was named Book of the Year, won the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction and shared the Multicultural Award. De Kretser took out the Miles Franklin again in 2018 for The Life to Come, joining writers such as Patrick White, Peter Carey, Tom Keneally and Thea Astley in the select group of those who have won the prestigious award multiple times.

Chong Weng-Ho has designed more than sixty book covers for Text Publishing’s Text Classics series and writes a regular blog, Culcher Mulcher, for Crikey.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Michelle de Kretser 2015
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Weng-Ho Chong

Accession number: 2015.34

Currently on display: Gallery Six (Tim Fairfax Gallery)

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Artist and subject

Weng-Ho Chong (age 54 in 2013)

Michelle de Kretser (age 56 in 2013)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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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.

Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti & Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti & Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti & Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti & Campbell

Eye to eye

Previous exhibition, 2019

Eye to Eye is a summer Portrait Gallery Collection remix arranged by degree of eye contact – from turned away with eyes closed all the way through to right-back-at-you – as we explore artists’ and subjects’ choices around the direction of the gaze.

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The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait 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.