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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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Marcia Langton

In their own words

Recorded 2011

Marcia Langton
Audio: 2 minutes

Brook has a quite a funny relationship with Ganesh, the Hindu god, the elephant being, and he quite likes the Hindu pantheon and mythology. He had the idea of using some ideas from Hindu mythology and expressing them in an artistic way to depict aspects of the life of an Aboriginal person, as, you know, a dynamic flowing series of events rather than, you know, the boring old static idea of the Aborigine in Australian mythology. So that idea of the cycle of life and death and the dynamism of you know, being human, he wanted to inject into a work of art. And he wanted me as the subject and so we started talking about what’s important in my life. And, of course, he knew that I’d written a lot about traditional Aboriginal use of fire. He knew that I had worked at the Argyle diamond mine. And, of course, in Buddhism you have the Diamond Sutra and the diamond represents the multifaceted effect of, well, let’s say, purity, of peace.

So, he’s captured, you know, me juggling all sorts of things, but it’s not just me, you see, it’s a big idea in there. It’s a very big idea. And I like it that he’s taken me as a person and he knows me rather well and so what he’s done is put the two together, my private person, my public persona, then added Kali, and I think undone the conventional mythology about the Aboriginal portrait, the portrait of an Aborigine. And I’m absolutely thrilled with the outcome. It’s so big and bold and colourful and lively. And I think in man y ways he captured more about me that a conventional portrait would.

Acknowledgements

This recording was made during interviews for the National Portrait Gallery's Portrait Stories series.

Related information

Peace, the Man and Hope (Anthony Mundine), 2005 by Brook Andrew and Larry Rawling (printer)
Peace, the Man and Hope (Anthony Mundine), 2005 by Brook Andrew and Larry Rawling (printer)
Peace, the Man and Hope (Anthony Mundine), 2005 by Brook Andrew and Larry Rawling (printer)
Peace, the Man and Hope (Anthony Mundine), 2005 by Brook Andrew and Larry Rawling (printer)

In focus

Magazine article, 2017

Brook Andrew, Marcia Langton and Anthony Mundine.

Marcia Langton, Brook Andrew and Trent Walter

'A big idea'

Portrait story

Professor Marcia Langton, artist Brook Andrew and printer Trent Walter discuss the creation of Marcia's portrait.

Marcia Langton
Marcia Langton
Marcia Langton
Marcia Langton

Powerful energy

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2010

Dr Christopher Chapman explores the symbolism in the portrait commission of Marcia Langton by Brook Andrew.

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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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