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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.

Person and Place

1 Mrs Woods and ‘Ere, 2013 Karla Dickens. © Karla Dickens/Copyright Agency, 2022. 2 Monga Khan 1916, 2016; printed 2019 Peter Drew. National Gallery of Victoria. Purchased, NGV Supporters of Prints and Drawings, 2020.

The connection between land and identity holds great significance in Australia. While for First Nations people, person and place are intertwined both culturally and spiritually, forming an intrinsic union between Country and self, stories of colonisation and migration are also deeply bound to this nation. How we connect to the land we’re on, whether we’ve always been here or are newcomers to it, influences our understandings of who we are, and our relationships with one another.

Portraits that capture these connections are displayed side by side, encouraging conversations around belonging, displacement, culture and identity. While Lloyd Rees and Polixeni Papapetrou personify the physicality of the land, Wawiriya Burton’s painting Ngayaku Ngura (My Country) connects the artist with her Country and family, a map of her lineage and ancestral heritage.

1 Portrait of some rocks, 1948 Lloyd Rees AC CMG. National Gallery of Victoria. Purchased, 1948. 2 Ngayaku Ngura (My Country), 2009 Kunmanara (Wawiriya) Burton. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Felton Bequest, 2011.

Though accounts of colonisation and exile are intrinsic to the Australian story, for many, arrival in this country instils a sense of safety and hope. For others, the experience is far more complicated. Portraits of refugee and migrant people celebrate the multifaceted nature of Australian identity, and acknowledge the many cultures, languages and backgrounds which make up this nation.

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
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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.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency