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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.

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Rosie Batty

2017
Nikki Toole

type C photograph on paper (frame: 89.8 cm x 76.8 cm, sheet: 87.0 cm x 74.0 cm)

Rosie Batty AO (b. 1962), campaigner against family violence, became well known to the Australian public in early 2014, when her eleven-year-old son Luke was murdered by his father as she stood waiting to take him home from cricket practice. Increasingly erratic and aggressive over the years, his father was subject to a court order restricting his access to mother and son. After he killed Luke, police shot him; the next day, he died. Very soon after, Batty made a dignified public statement that stunned the nation. In 2015, she was Australian of the Year, using her position to call for widespread recognition of, and action on, domestic violence. The issue is now prominent in Australian public discourse, with various government initiatives, advertising campaigns, sports associations and charities maintaining the momentum. After meeting Batty, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews established Victoria's 2015 Royal Commission into Family Violence, which led to $2.7 billion in funding for prevention of violence and support for victims.


The first thing photographer Nikki Toole noticed when she met Batty were her eyes. Crystal blue, and reflecting strength and sorrow in equal measure. For the portrait, Toole wanted to capture the real Batty, with natural light and no retouching. The result is a raw, unflinching image that shows Batty's resilience and determination.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Commissioned with funds provided by the Circle of Friends 2017
© Nikki Toole

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.
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Audio description

1 minutes 27 seconds
Show transcript

Artist and subject

Nikki Toole (age 52 in 2017)

Rosie Batty (age 55 in 2017)

Subject professions

Activism

Supported by

National Portrait Gallery Circle of Friends (16 portraits supported)

Related portraits

1. Mark Ella, 2015. 2. Tilman Ruff, 2019. All Nikki Toole.

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.

Tilman Ruff

'To literally save the world'

Portrait story

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Professor Tilman Ruff AO has focused his efforts on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.

Nikki Toole

'Beauty and strength'

Portrait story

Photographer Nikki Toole describes the creation of her portrait of Rosie Batty.

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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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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