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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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Preparatory study for 'Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground'. Head studies

2001
eX de Medici

pencil on paper (frame: 119.7 cm x 127.5 cm depth 4.2 cm, sheet: 105.5 cm x 114.0 cm)

Rob Hirst (bottom left) and Jim Moginie (top right) began jamming together at school in 1972. They later enlisted Peter Garrett (top row, second from left ) as vocalist and performed as Farm until 1976, when they changed their name to Midnight Oil. They recorded their first two albums in 1978 and 1979, by which time guitarist Martin Rotsey (top left) had joined them. Bass player Bones Hillman (bottom row, second from right) joined in 1987. From the outset, the Oils' songs aggressively addressed environmental and social concerns. Tracks on Diesel and Dust (1987) were about land rights, for example; and the song 'Blue Sky Mine', from Blue Sky Mining (1990), is about the thousands of deaths attributable to the blue asbestos mined in Wittenoom, Western Australia, for many years. eX de Medici's commissioned portrait of Midnight Oil references this activism in multiple ways, including its title (a line from 'Blue Sky Mine'), its setting (the now defunct Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu National Park), and de Medici's use of a pigment extracted from mangrove bark she'd collected in the Northern Territory. For the individual portraits, de Medici worked from sketches based on photographs taken at gigs and at a studio session in Sydney. The Gallery acquired this work and nine other preparatory drawings along with the finished portrait in 2001. In 2002, the artist gifted to the Gallery the illustrated diary which documents the portrait's creation.

Commissioned with funds from the Basil Bressler Bequest 2001
© eX de Medici

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

eX de Medici (age 42 in 2001)

Midnight Oil

Peter Garrett AM (age 48 in 2001)

Rob Hirst (age 46 in 2001)

Jim Moginie

Martin Rotsey

Dwayne Hillman (age 43 in 2001)

Supported by

Basil P. Bressler (48 portraits supported)

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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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