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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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Alexis Wright

2009 (printed 2014)
Ingvar Kenne

type C photograph on paper, edition 1/7 (frame: 103.0 cm x 103.0 cm, sheet: 100.0 cm x 100.0 cm)
Alexis Wright (b. 1950), author and activist, won the Miles Franklin Award in 2007 for her novel Carpentaria and the 2018 Stella Prize for her collective memoir Tracker. A woman of the Waanyi nation of the Gulf of Carpentaria, Wright was raised by her mother and grandmother in Cloncurry, her non-Aboriginal cattleman father having died when she was five years old. Her first novel, Plains of Promise, was published in 1997 and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize, a New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award and the Age Book of the Year. Throughout the ensuing decade Wright’s short stories and essays were included in a number of anthologies and in journals such as Overland, Australian Humanities Review and Southerly, and her criticism appeared in The Age and Meanjin, among other publications. Carpentaria, a 500-page-long novel about an Aboriginal family from the Gulf, was written in a style incorporating ‘the way we tell stories and in the voice of our own people and our own way of speaking’, and was initially rejected by several publishers. On its eventual appearance in 2006, however, it won a slew of awards including the Victorian, New South Wales and Queensland’s Premier’s Literary Awards for Fiction; the Australian Book Industry Award for Book of the Year; and the Australian Literary Society’s gold medal, in addition to the Miles Franklin. Her third novel The Swan Book (2014) was also awarded the ALS gold medal and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin and the Victorian and New South Wales Premier’s Awards. In addition, through her work as a researcher, activist and consultant with various Aboriginal organisations, she has published widely on Indigenous issues and land rights in Australia and overseas. Her non-fiction titles as author and editor include Grog War (1997), examining alcohol abuse in the Northern Territory, and Take Power (1998), an anthology of writing on land rights in Central Australia. Wright has undergraduate qualifications in social studies and creative writing and a doctorate from RMIT. She is currently a Distinguished Fellow of the Writing and Society Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney.

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2010 Finalist

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2017
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Ingvar Kenne

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

2 minutes 8 seconds
Show transcript

Artist and subject

Ingvar Kenne (age 44 in 2009)

Alexis Wright (age 59 in 2009)

Donated by

Ingvar Kenne (14 portraits)

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.

Cormac + Callum Kenne, My Children, Sydney, Australia, 2009
Cormac + Callum Kenne, My Children, Sydney, Australia, 2009
Cormac + Callum Kenne, My Children, Sydney, Australia, 2009
Cormac + Callum Kenne, My Children, Sydney, Australia, 2009

Citizen Kenne

Magazine article by April Thompson, 2013

April Thompson explores an exhibition of Ingvar Kenne’s global portrait project.

Miranda Otto
Miranda Otto
Miranda Otto
Miranda Otto

Eye to eye

Previous exhibition, 2019

Eye to Eye is a summer Portrait Gallery Collection remix arranged by degree of eye contact – from turned away with eyes closed all the way through to right-back-at-you – as we explore artists’ and subjects’ choices around the direction of the gaze.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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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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