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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.

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NPG Wellington, Edinburgh and Canberra

15 minutes of frame

Streamed live at 7:00pm (AEDT), Wednesday 10th March 2021
NPG Wellington, Edinburgh and Canberra
Video: 49 minutes

This cross-hemisphere conversation brings together voices from three countries: Paul Johnston, New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata in Wellington; Christopher Baker, Director of European and Scottish Art and Portraiture at National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh; and Joanna Gilmour, Curator & Collection Research at the National Portrait Gallery of Australia in Canberra. Together they’ll explore and interrogate ancient legacies, historical continuities, and the intriguing shifting dynamics of portraiture and power.

Christopher Baker is Director of European and Scottish Art and Portraiture at the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS). He is responsible for the collection and programme at the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. Before moving to Scotland he worked at Christ Church, Oxford, and the National Gallery in London. Christopher has organised numerous exhibitions in the U.K. and internationally on aspects of British art pre-1900, drawings and watercolours and old master paintings. His research has focused on aspects of the history of taste and collecting and his publications include the Catalogue of English Drawings and Watercolours 1600-1900 (NGS) and Complete Illustrated Catalogue (National Gallery, London).

Paul Johnston served as the 2020 Liz Stringer Curatorial Intern at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata, assisting with the gallery’s exhibition programme, including Everything Old is New Again: The Turnbull Library at 100 (2020) and Portraits of Power/Portraits as Power (2020–21), for which he was sole curator. He was previously a Curatorial Intern at the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2019. Paul holds degrees from Harvard University and the University of Auckland, and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at Harvard University in Classical Philology and Comparative Literature, where he has taught courses on literature, art and culture as well as the Greek and Latin languages. He is writing a dissertation that explores the Greek and Latin literatures of the Roman empire, the bilingual cultural contexts that these two linguistic traditions emerged from, and their shared implication in Rome’s imperial project. Paul is currently based in Wellington Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

Joanna Gilmour is Curator, Collection & Research at the National Portrait Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Since joining the NPGA in 2008 she has curated several exhibitions on historical Australian portraiture including Husbands & Wives (2010); Indecent Exposure (2011); Elegance in Exile: portrait drawings from colonial Australia (2012); Sideshow Alley: infamy, the macabre and the portrait (2015–2016); Carte-o-mania! (2018) and Facing New Worlds (2018), a collaboration with scholars from Macquarie University, the Australian National University and the University of Sydney, funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant. Though feeling much more at home with nineteenth-century photography, Joanna has twice been the lead curator for the National Photographic Portrait Prize and a member of the judging panel for the NPPP exhibitions in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2017; and since 2011 she has been the coordinating curator for the bi-annual rehangs of the NPGA’s Collection Display Galleries. Her current projects include the upcoming Australian Love Stories (2021), the third edition of the NPGA’s collection guidebook The Companion (2021); an exhibition on the subject of diva Dame Nellie Melba (2023), and a biography of the Australian swimmer, performer and women’s health advocate Annette Kellerman.

Video transcript

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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.

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