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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.

Barrie Kosky, Sydney Opera House

c. 1997 (printed 2017)
Robert McFarlane

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 33.0 cm x 48.5 cm, image: 24.0 cm x 35.9 cm)

Barrie Kosky (b. 1967), theatre and opera director, directed his first play as a student of Melbourne Grammar School. Having studied piano and history of music at the University of Melbourne, in 1990 he established the Gilgul Theatre company, describing it as Australia’s first professional alternative Jewish theatre company. Having been artistic director of the Adelaide Festival in 1996, and having directed King Lear for the Bell Shakespeare Company and Wozzeck for the Sydney Opera House in in 1998 and 1999, from 2001 to 2005 he was co-director of the Vienna Schauspielhaus. Henceforth based overseas, he has directed more than 40 operas including Saul for Glyndebourne Festival, Carmen for the Frankfurt Opera and Macbeth for the Zurich Opera House. His production of The Magic Flute has been seen by more than 300 000 people since 2012. Recipient of a plethora of awards including the Olivier Award for best new opera production for Castor and Pollux in 2012 – the year he was appointed artistic director of the Komische Oper Berlin - he was named best director at the 2014 International Opera Awards and the 2016 Opernwelt opera director of the year. His production of Handel’s Saul opened the 2017 Adelaide Festival. In July 2017, with Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, the self-styled ‘gay Jewish Kangaroo’ will become the first Australian as well as the first Jew to direct a Wagner production at Bayreuth.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2017
© Robert McFarlane/Copyright Agency, 2021

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.

Artist and subject

Robert McFarlane (age 55 in 1997)

Barry Kosky (age 30 in 1997)

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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.

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This exhibition celebrates Australians whose unique life experiences symbolise social and cultural forces. Uncompromising individuality defines them. The portraits are drawn from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection of contemporary photography and drawing.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

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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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