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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.

Dr John Yu, 2014

Gary Grealy

inkjet print on paper (frame: 100.0 cm x 80.5 cm)

Dr John Yu (b.1934), retired paediatrician and hospital administrator, was born in Nanking, China and moved to Australia with his parents when he was three years old. Educated in Sydney, he worked at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children (which became the New Children’s Hospital, Westmead) from 1961 to 1997, becoming Head of Medicine and serving as its Chief Executive for 19 years before retiring in 1997.

For many years he chaired and served on diverse bodies related to children’s health, education, medicine and the arts. Chancellor of the University of New South Wales from 2000 to 2005 and Chair of the Australia-China Council from 2001 to 2006, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 1997 to 2006, when he was made a Life Governor of the Gallery. From 2004 he was Chair of VisAsia, promoting appreciation of Asian visual arts and culture. He has published a number of books and many papers on paediatrics, hospital management and the decorative arts.

John Yu was Australian of the Year in 1996 and is a designated Living National Treasure. Accepting his Australian of the Year Award, Yu said, ‘I am proud of my Chinese heritage but even prouder to be an Australian’.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Dr Gene Sherman AM and Patrick Corrigan AM 2016
© Gary Grealy

Accession number: 2016.49

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Gary Grealy (age 64 in 2014)

John Yu AC (age 80 in 2014)

Subject professions

Health and medicine

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.

Interview wtih Dr John Yu video: 2 minutes
Interview wtih Dr John Yu video: 2 minutes
Interview wtih Dr John Yu video: 2 minutes
Interview wtih Dr John Yu video: 2 minutes

Dr John Yu

Portrait story

An interview with the acclaimed pediatrician Dr. John Yu who describes the process of having his portrait sculpture created by artist Ah Xian.

Dr John Yu, 2004 Ah Xian
Dr John Yu, 2004 Ah Xian
Dr John Yu, 2004 Ah Xian
Dr John Yu, 2004 Ah Xian

Clay, water, fire

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2005

Ah Xian's porcelain portrait of paediatrician Dr. John Yu reflects Yu's heritage and interests.

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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.