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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.

Tilman Ruff, 2019

Nikki Toole

type C photograph on paper (frame: 86.0 cm x 76.0 cm depth 4.0 cm)

Tilman Ruff (b. 1955), infectious diseases and public health physician, was a founder of ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017. Ruff’s parents were German Christians who were shunted from Palestine to Egypt and back to incarceration in Palestine before coming to Australia, where they were again interned until 1947. They settled in Adelaide, where Tilman Ruff was born. As a student of science and then medicine at Monash University, Melbourne, he formed an Amnesty International group. Graduating in 1980, he joined the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, of which he later became co-president. He was the founding chair of ICAN and remains involved with the operation. In 2015 he and Malcolm Fraser wrote an article for the Age newspaper titled ‘2015 is the Year to Ban Nuclear Weapons’. Ruff is an international medical adviser to the Australian Red Cross, for which he recently wrote on the humanitarian impact and implications of nuclear test explosions in the Pacific region. He is a member of the World Health Organisation’s expert panel on hepatitis B for the Western Pacific region and an associate professor at the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne.

Nikki Toole studied film and photography in London and Edinburgh and has exhibited in Australia, Britain, USA and Germany. Toole’s exhibition Skater, featuring photographs taken around the world, was developed with the National Portrait Gallery and exhibited in 2012. Five times a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize, she was commissioned to photograph Mark Ella and Rosie Batty for the Gallery’s permanent collection in 2015 and 2017. She has also made significant series of portraits of participants in the sport of roller derby, and of London butchers.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2019

Accession number: 2019.52

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Nikki Toole (age 54 in 2019)

Tilman Ruff AO (age 64 in 2019)

Related portraits

1. Mark Ella, 2015. 2. Rosie Batty, 2017. 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 AO video: 8 minutes 30 seconds
Tilman Ruff AO video: 8 minutes 30 seconds
Tilman Ruff AO video: 8 minutes 30 seconds
Tilman Ruff AO video: 8 minutes 30 seconds

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 video: 4 minutes 53 seconds
Nikki Toole video: 4 minutes 53 seconds
Nikki Toole video: 4 minutes 53 seconds
Nikki Toole video: 4 minutes 53 seconds

Nikki Toole

'Beauty and strength'

Portrait story

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

Terror to Pieces by Nikki Toole
Terror to Pieces by Nikki Toole
Terror to Pieces by Nikki Toole
Terror to Pieces by Nikki Toole

Elle on wheels

Magazine article by Lucy Quinn, 2013

Lucy Quinn compares the approaches of three photographers lured to the action and culture of roller derby.

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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.