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The National Portrait Gallery of Australia (NPGA) 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.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Geoff Cousins, 2017

David Naseby

oil on canvas (frame: 160.0 cm x 106.5 cm, support: 152.5 cm x 101.0 cm)

Geoff Cousins AM (b. 1942), businessman, environmental activist, author and collector, worked for 25 years with George Patterson, then Australia’s leading advertising agency, rising to chair of the very substantial group. He became the founding chair of the Australian arm of the children’s charity Starlight Foundation in 1988, and the founding chair of Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art in 1990. In 1995 he became the first CEO of telephony and pay television network Optus Vision, but in due course resigned to care for his terminally ill wife, Gayle, and their children. Subsequently, for a decade he was an adviser to Prime Minister John Howard. Having served on many company boards up to this period, from 2006 to 2015 he was on the board of Telstra. Meanwhile, he became a ferocious environmental campaigner, opposing the Gunns pulp mill in Tasmania in 2007 and the location of Woodside’s gas-processing plant north of Broome in 2012. As president of the board of the Australian Conservation Foundation from 2014 to 2018, he took a very robust public stand against government support for the Adani coal mine in central Queensland. He has also served on the boards of the Smith Family, the Sydney Theatre Company and the St George Foundation. His novel, The Butcher Bird, was published in 2007.

David Naseby contacted Geoff Cousins, whose high-profile, high-energy environmental involvement he admires, to ask about painting him for the Archibald. They met several times for sittings, Cousins pulling out his old Akubra to hold at the artist’s request. Cousins says ‘I’m not sure it’s a particularly flattering picture but it certainly captures a certain side of my personality and I admire its skill.’

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Geoff Cousins AM 2007

Accession number: 2017.149

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

David Naseby (age 80 in 2017)

Geoff Cousins AM

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The National Portrait Gallery of Australia (NPGA) 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.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.