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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.

Steve Kilbey

1981 (printed 2018)
Gary Ede

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 49.9 cm x 38.7 cm, image: 46.1 cm x 34.9 cm, frame: depth 4.3 cm)

Steve Kilbey (b. 1954), singer-songwriter, is the frontman of the Australian band The Church. Kilbey came to Australia from England with his family as a young boy. After they settled in Canberra, the teenage Kilbey began playing bass guitar with the covers band Saga. Having played with Precious Little, in about 1974 he formed his own band, Baby Grande; for a while, he worked as a computer programmer. At the end of the 1970s, in Sydney, he formed The Church with Peter Koppes, with whom he’d played in Precious Little, and Nick Ward; they were soon joined by Marty Willson Piper, who was later replaced by Richard Ploog. In 1988 The Church broke through internationally with the Steve Kilbey/Karin Jansson song ‘Under the Milky Way’, consistently rated amongst the best Australian songs of all time, winner of the ARIA for best song of 1988 and used in the cult film Donnie Darko in 2001. The band’s other best known songs are ‘Unguarded Moment’ and ‘Almost With You’. Kilbey has released many ‘primary’ albums, but has also been involved in numerous collaborations and sideline projects, including Hex, Jack Frost (with the Go Betweens’ Grant McLennan), Curious (Yellow) with Karin Jansson, Gilt Trip (with his brother Russell) and a number of albums with Martin Kennedy of All India Radio. He is also a visual artist, whose work expresses his longstanding interest in mysticism and spiritualism. His autobiography Something Quite Peculiar was published in 2014.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Wayne Williams 2018
© Gary Ede

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

Gary Ede (age 35 in 1981)

Steve Kilbey (age 27 in 1981)

Supported by

Wayne Williams (30 portraits supported)

Related information

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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.

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Previous exhibition, 2019

Featuring striking photographic portraits of contemporary figures from the National Portrait Gallery collection, The Look is an aesthetic treat with a lashing of je ne sais quoi.

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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