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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), singer/songwriter and storyteller, was born in Cairns and 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. At university from the late 70s but initially having minimal command of reading and writing, Carmody gained permission from his tutors to present work orally, accompanied by himself on guitar. He completed his BA at the University of Southern Queensland but set aside his PhD when signed to record his first album, Pillars of Society (1988) – subsequently described by one journalist 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 in 1991. Kelly and Archie Roach were among those who contributed to the Carmody tribute album, Cannot Buy My Soul, which won the Deadly Award for Album of the Year in 2007. At the 2005 Deadlys, Carmody received the Jimmy Little Award for his lifetime contribution to music; and in 2009 he was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. The University of Southern Queensland awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in 2008.

Courtesy of Kev Carmody, Song Cycles Pty Ltd.

Accession number: LOAN2014.4

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Peter Hudson (age 56 in 2006)

Kev Carmody

Subject professions

Performing arts

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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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.

Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell

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
The National Portrait Gallery

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Phone +61 2 6102 7000
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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.