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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.

Mem Fox

2021
Peter Brew-Bevan

inkjet print on paper (image: 84 cm x 43.5 cm, sheet: 94.5 cm x 53.5 cm, frame: 107.6 cm x 66.2 cm depth 3.6 cm)

Mem Fox AM (b. 1946), author, is best-known for her award-winning book Possum Magic, which has sold over five million copies since it was first published in 1983, more than any other Australian children's book. Born in Melbourne, Fox grew up in Zimbabwe, Africa with her missionary parents. She went to drama school in London and then moved to Adelaide aged 23. After having her daughter Chloë, she studied children’s literature at Flinders University, where she wrote Possum Magic, with illustrations by Julie Vivas. Rejected by nine publishers over five years, it was finally accepted by Omnibus Books. During her career Fox has written over 40 children's books, including Where is the Green Sheep? and Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes. Her books have been translated into 21 languages, and many have been international bestsellers. For 24 years Fox was Associate Professor of Literary Studies at Flinders University and since 1996 she has been an international literacy consultant.

Peter Brew-Bevan's portrait of Fox was based on her passion for conservation and her love of the Australian landscape and wildlife, as captured in Possum Magic. 'I created a stylised bush environment within the studio. The inclusion of the doors in this set is a "Narnia-esque" nod, like a symbolic doorway into the fabulously whimsical and passionately creative mind of Mem.'

Purchased with funds provided by Peronelle Windeyer 2021
© Peter Brew-Bevan

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

Peter Brew-Bevan (age 52 in 2021)

Mem Fox (age 75 in 2021)

Related information

Mem Fox
Mem Fox
Mem Fox
Mem Fox

Story time

Possum Magic with Mem Fox

3:30pm, Fri 8 Oct

Looking to go on an adventure across Australia? Tune in for a reading of  the treasured classic, ‘Possum Magic’ read by Mem Fox.

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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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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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