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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.

Who are you

Australian portraiture

Opens Saturday 1 October 2022
until Sunday 29 January 2023
Self portrait
Self Portrait (non-objective composition) (yellow cross), 1990 John Nixon
1 Self portrait, 1934 Nora Heysen AM. © Lou Klepac. 2 Self Portrait (non-objective composition) (yellow cross), 1990 John Nixon. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of Chase Manhattan Overseas Corporation, Fellow, 1991. © Courtesy of the artist.

Who Are You: Australian Portraiture is one of the most comprehensive explorations of portraiture ever mounted in Australia and the first exhibition to bring together the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. The exhibition will be on display in Melbourne from 25 March to 21 August 2022 and Canberra from 1 October 2022 to 29 January 2023.

Revealing the rich artistic synergies and contrasts between the two institutions’ collections, this co-curated exhibition considers portraiture in Australia across time and media, as well as the role of the portraiture genre in the development of a sense of Australian national identity.

Featuring more than two-hundred works by Australian artists including Patricia Piccinini, Atong Atem, Howard Arkley, Vincent Namatjira and Tracey Moffatt, and featuring sitters including Cate Blanchett, Albert Namatjira, Queen Elizabeth II, Eddie Mabo and David Gulpilil, the exhibition explores our inner worlds and outer selves, as well as issues of sociability, intimacy, isolation, celebrity and ordinariness.

The exhibition also questions what actually constitutes portraiture by examining the surprising and sometimes unconventional ways of representing likeness, such as the abstract self-portrait by John Nixon and Boris Cipusev’s typographic portrait of Jeff from The Wiggles. Polixeni Papapetrou’s Magma Man, a photograph which merges sitter and landscape until the two are almost indecipherable, and Shirley Purdie’s multi-panelled evocation of biography and Country further challenge the conventions of the genre and touch upon the intimate connection between artist, sitter and land. Alongside these works, iconic self-portraits will also be displayed by artists including John Brack, Nora Heysen and William Yang.

Maria
I'm black (Nicky Winmar), covered vase, 2015 Rona Panangka Rubuntja
1 Maria, 1986 (printed 2013) Michael Riley. © Michael Riley/Copyright Agency, 2021. 2 I'm black (Nicky Winmar), covered vase, 2015 Rona Panangka Rubuntja. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2015. © Rona Panangka Rubuntja/Licensed by Copyright Agency, Australia.

Related information

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2022 Who will win?
National Photographic Portrait Prize 2022 Who will win?
National Photographic Portrait Prize 2022 Who will win?
National Photographic Portrait Prize 2022 Who will win?

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2022

Upcoming exhibition

from Saturday 25 June

The exhibition is selected from a national field of entries, reflecting the distinctive vision of Australia's aspiring and professional portrait photographers and the unique nature of their subjects. The call for entries is now open.

Shakespeare to Winehouse: Icons from the National Portrait Gallery, London
Shakespeare to Winehouse: Icons from the National Portrait Gallery, London
Shakespeare to Winehouse: Icons from the National Portrait Gallery, London
Shakespeare to Winehouse: Icons from the National Portrait Gallery, London

Shakespeare to Winehouse

Icons from the National Portrait Gallery, London

Upcoming exhibition

from Saturday 12 March

From Shakespeare to Winehouse, Darwin to Dickens, the Beatles, Brontë sisters and Beckham, the National Portrait Gallery London holds the world’s most extensive collection of portraits.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

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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.

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