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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 rights at a young age, working with 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’ in 1976. During the 1980s Walley was involved in a number of stage and television productions, and since 1996 he has released several recordings, among them Two tribes (2003) which blends traditional 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. In recent years has worked as a cultural awareness advisor to BHP and other organisations in both the private and public sectors.

Julie Dowling, an artist of Badimaya, Irish and Scottish Catholic heritage, was born in Perth and gained her degree in fine arts from Curtin University in 1992. Evoking diverse traditions including European portraiture and Christian icons, mural painting, dotting and Indigenous Australian iconography while drawing on her own family history, she has exhibited throughout Australia and overseas. She has been an Archibald finalist three times and her work is represented in most major Australian public collections.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
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