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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.

Self portrait

c. 1982
Bea Maddock

photo screenprint with ballpoint pen framing lines on paper (sheet: 15.3 cm x 10.0 cm)
Image not available (NC)

Bea Maddock (1934–2016) studied at the Hobart Technical College in the early 1950s before travelling to London, where she attended the Slade School from 1959 to 1961. From the time of her return to Australia, she taught: at the Launceston Teachers’ College, the Launceston Technical College, the National Gallery of Victoria school, the Victorian College of the Arts and the Bendigo College of Advanced Education. In 1979–1980 she made a large wax-coated collage of embossed hand-made paper words on commission for the new High Court in Canberra. In February 1983 her home and studio at Mount Macedon were razed in the Ash Wednesday fires. She returned to Launceston where she was head of the school of art at the College of Advanced Education for two years. Between 1964 and 2006, she held more than forty solo exhibitions and her work was included in more than seventy Australian and international group shows. In 1986 she held the Creative Arts Fellowship at the Australian National University; the following year she went to Antarctica, the trip giving rise to panoramic views of the territory. Metaphysical enquiry, dread and loneliness were often evoked in her introspective self-portraits; the exhibition Being and Nothingness toured state galleries and the National Gallery of Australia in 1992–1993. In 1993 she was the winner of the Clemenger Award for Contemporary Art. From 1993 to 1998 she worked on Terra Spiritus: With a Darker Shade of Pale, a monumental 52-sheet panorama of the entire coastline of Tasmania made from ochre pigment she sourced and ground herself. Informed by her identification with Aboriginal spirituality, the work featured placenames in local Indigenous languages in refutation of the colonial notion of terra nullius – uninhabited land.

Maddock’s work was the subject of survey exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2002 and is held in the collections of most major Australian galleries.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of David Archer 2016

Artist and subject

Bea Maddock (age 48 in 1982)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

David Archer (2 portraits)

Related portraits

1. Fleeing figure, 1988. All Bea Maddock, Larry Rawlings.

Related information

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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