Christina Amphlett (1959-2013) was the singer with the band The Divinyls, formed in Sydney in 1980 after Amphlett met guitarist Mark McEntee at a religious concert at the Opera House. After playing in grimy venues around Kings Cross for some months, they were cast - as a band - in the film version of Helen Garner’s book Monkey Grip. The single 'Boys in Town', performed in the film, became a top ten hit, and Amphlett was nominated for an AFI Award as Best Supporting Actress. A critically acclaimed first full-length album, Desperate (1983), followed. Over the next decade, with a number of personnel changes, the band became part of the international Australian music assault that included Midnight Oil, INXS and Crowded House. For a time they remained largely based in Paris and the US, where they scored a hit single in 1991 with 'I touch myself' from Divinyls. Amphlett's autobiography, Pleasure and Pain, was released in 2005; two years later, she announced that she suffered from multiple sclerosis, and in 2010 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She died in New York in April 2013.
Ivan Durrant (b.1947), a performance artist and painter, was born in Melbourne. With no formal art training, he held his first exhibition at Torlano Galleries in 1970. By the mid-70s his work had evolved from the deliberately naïve approach of this first show to a technically refined photo-realist style of painting. Durrant often concentrates on a theme, producing series of paintings thoroughly exploring a subject. These have included movie star portraits, 'propaganda' images of his wife and daughter, a horse racing series, and more recently, paintings of wool sheds. He has held solo exhibitions almost annually since the 1970s and his work is represented in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia and most state galleries.
Gift of the artist 2001
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2001.10
More about the artist and subject
Permanent collection catalogue
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.