Skip to main content
Menu

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.

Kill them with kindness, 2006

by Alex Kershaw

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2007 Finalist

Kill them with kindness is a portrait of my grandmother, Dawn Atkins. This image resulted from a year-long series of photographic visits to my grandmother's house and garden, drawing on her passion for ikebana, the ancient art of Japanese flower arranging. The project began from a desire to use photography as a way of spending time and to archive what is ultimately fleeting - our corporeal experience of time. In this image Dawn holds a strelitzia cut from her garden toward a biscuit barrel my late grandfather carved for her while serving in New Guinea during World War 2. Composed in front of the garage door these objects are re-ordered creating a portrait of intimacy and estrangement. The flower becomes a kind of magic wand used as a domestic invocation or perhaps a fishing rod for memories. The image records and remembers family lineage - a photograph designed to make old histories speak again and allow new conversations to circulate.

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2007

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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