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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.

Self portrait, c. 1849 Charles Rodius

Elegance in exile Portrait drawings from colonial Australia

Previous exhibition, 2012

Elegance in exile is an exhibition surveying the work of Richard Read senior, Thomas Bock, Thomas Griffiths Wainewright and Charles Rodius: four artists who, though exiled to Australia as convicts, created many of the most significant and elegant portraits of the colonial period.

Video still from Dream Job, 2011 by David M Thomas

David M Thomas Dream Job

Previous exhibition, 2011

Since 1993 Brisbane-based artist David M Thomas has investigated self identity through art works that encompass painting, text, audio, video and performance.

© Shirley Purdie/Copyright Agency, 2020

Ngalim-Ngalimbooroo Ngagenybe Shirley Purdie

Current exhibition

Using ochres collected on her country in Western Australia’s East Kimberley, Shirley Purdie’s self-portrait is a kaleidoscope of traditional Gija stories and Ngarranggarni (Dreaming) passed down to her.

Our only concern is the void, 2013 video: 12 minutes

Macquarie Digital Portraiture Award 2013

Previous exhibition, 2013

The Macquarie Digital Portraiture Award is an annual event intended to extend traditional notions of portraiture and reflects the National Portrait Gallery's commitment to fostering emerging artists with an interest in contemporary technology.

Self Portrait #1, 1992 by William Yang

William Yang Australian Chinese

Previous exhibition, 2001

William Yang's art is about the telling of stories, his work is an intriguing mixture of philosophy, autobiography, social history and documentary imbued with a sense of the artist's own curiosity, humanity and humour

Paul Kelly, 1992 by Wendy McDougall

Paul Kelly and The Portraits

Previous exhibition, 2013

Aspects of singer songwriter Paul Kelly’s performance persona are communicated by portraits selected from a range of artists and leading music photographers in this focus exhibition.

Bungaree, late chief of the Broken Bay tribe, Sydney, 1836 William Fernyhough

Heads of the People A Portrait of Colonial Australia

Previous exhibition, 2000

For Tom Roberts - Australia's best nineteenth-century portrait painter - neither a proto-national portrait gallery nor more popular collections of portrait heads, were sufficient public celebrations for the notables of Australian history

The Joy Of Life, 2002 by Janelle McKay

Headspace 3 Being Me

Previous exhibition, 2002

The self-portrait enables students to explore emerging and changing aspects of their own identity, their sense of self, their place in the world, their experience of being human

Marcia Langton, 2009 Brook Andrew, Trent Walter

Collection in focus: Brook Andrew

Previous exhibition, 2017

Experience the artistic clout of Brook Andrew’s portraits of Marcia Langton AM and Anthony Mundine.

Thomas Sutcliffe Mort and his wife Theresa, c. 1847 an unknown artist

Husbands and Wives Photographic Portraits from 19th Century Australia

Previous exhibition, 2010

'I have just been to my dressing case to take a peep at you.

Ned Kelly death mask, date unknown an unknown artist after Maximilian Kreitmayer

Sideshow Alley Infamy, the macabre & the portrait

Previous exhibition, 2015

Death masks, post-mortem drawings and other spooky and disquieting portraits... Come and see how portraits of infamous Australians were used in the 19th century.

Johnny O'Keefe "A little bit louder now...", 1999 Ivan Durrant

Making Portraits Five Years of National Portrait Gallery Commissions

Previous exhibition, 2004

The considered matching of artist to subject has produced an amazing collection of unique and original works in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery

Elle Macpherson, 2000 Polly Borland

Australian Visit

Previous exhibition, 2006

The exhibition will include works of art from the NPG Canberra's permanent collection with some inward loans and aims to highlight the achievements of notable Australians.

Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill, 2005 Ian Jennings

Australian of the Year Inspiring a Nation

Previous exhibition, 2010

The Australian of the Year Awards have often provoked controversy about who is selected and whether their achievements are remarkable.

Margaret Fulton, 1980 (printed 2002) Lewis Morley

Masters of Fare Chefs, winemakers, providores

Previous exhibition, 2004

Masters of fare: chefs, winemakers, providores celebrates men and women who have championed the unique culinary characteristics and produce of Australia, enriching our lives with new ideas and new flavours over the past forty years.

Paul Kelly, 2004 Jon Campbell

Face the Music

Previous exhibition, 2005

Australia has become recognised for the range and talent of its musicians, composers, conductors and celebrities in general associated with the music industry

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© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia


Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.