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Richard Walley
, 2015

by Julie Dowling

synthetic polymer paint and red ochre on canvas (support: 152.5 cm x 121.5 cm)

Richard Walley OAM (b. 1953) is a performer, artist, writer and Indigenous rights advocate. A Nyoongar man, he became involved in Aboriginal politics at a young age, working with bodies such as the Aboriginal Housing Board and the Aboriginal Legal Service in Western Australia in the 1970s. In 1978, he co-founded the Middar Aboriginal Theatre with friends including Ernie Dingo, with whom he devised and performed the very first ‘Welcome to Country’ ceremony in 1976. During the 1980s Walley acted in and wrote a number of stage and television productions, and since 1996 he has released several recordings, among them Two tribes (2003) which blends traditional Indigenous sounds with rap and hip hop. The 1991 NAIDOC Aboriginal Artist of the Year, Walley is a former Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council, and in 1993 he was awarded an OAM for his contribution to the arts and his promotion of Nyoongar culture. He is the founder and director of Aboriginal Productions and Promotions and in recent years has worked as a cultural awareness advisor to BHP and other organisations in both the private and public sectors.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Commissioned with funds provided by Neil Archibald and Alan R. Dodge AM, Brandon and Angela Munro, Dr Walter Ong and Graeme Marshall 2015
Accession number: 2015.64