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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.

Songman, portrait of Kev Carmody

2006
Peter Hudson

oil on canvas laid on composition board (support: 168.5 cm x 198.5 cm depth 6.0 cm)

On loan to the National Portrait Gallery

Kev Carmody (b. 1946) grew up on a cattle station on the Darling Downs, where his parents worked as drovers. Aged ten, he and his brother were sent away from their parents to a so-called school in Toowoomba, where they experienced frequent punishment but little education. Carmody’s first album, Pillars of Society (1988), was described as 'arguably the best protest album ever made in Australia'. Another four albums followed, among them Bloodlines (1993), which included Carmody's own rendition of the land rights anthem, 'From Little Things Big Things Grow' which he co-wrote with Paul Kelly. At the 2005 Deadlys, he received the Jimmy Little Award for his lifetime contribution to music; and in 2009 he was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

In the late 1990s Peter Hudson heard 'From Little Things Big Things Grow', which inspired him to make the first of many trips to the Aboriginal communities of Daguragu and Kalkarinji in Gurindji Country in the Northern Territory. The Gurindji people, their land, and the story of the Wave Hill walk-off have been major influences on his work, and led him to his current interest in portraiture. Hudson later illustrated the children’s book of their song, and made portraits of Carmody and Kelly.

Courtesy of Kev Carmody, Song Cycles Pty Ltd.
© Peter Hudson

Artist and subject

Peter Hudson (age 56 in 2006)

Kev Carmody

Subject professions

Performing arts

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.

Eye to eye

Previous exhibition, 2019

Eye to Eye is a summer Portrait Gallery Collection remix arranged by degree of eye contact – from turned away with eyes closed all the way through to right-back-at-you – as we explore artists’ and subjects’ choices around the direction of the gaze.

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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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency