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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.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Self portrait

1990
Anne Zahalka

type C Duraflex print on paper (sheet: 70.2 cm x 70.2 cm)

Photo-media artist Anne Zahalka began studying art at East Sydney Technical College before going on to attain her undergraduate degree at Sydney College of the Arts and her Masters at the University of New South Wales. She began exhibiting in the 1980s, developing the first of successive bodies of work that reconfigure familiar images and modes of representation. Her 1987 exhibition Resemblance consisted of a group of contemporary photographic portraits mimicking the conventions of Dutch genre painting, for instance, and Welcome to Sydney (2001) situates sitters from diverse cultural backgrounds in identifiably Sydney suburban settings to question dominant ideas about national identity. The idea of the artist and the myths around 'genius' and the creative process are also ongoing themes in Zahalka's work. Her portraits of visual artists are characterised by a sense of artifice and theatre that parodies the idea of the 'creative genius' while simultaneously evoking the technical, manual work involved in making art. Her 1990 series of portraits of women artists, furthermore, derides the historical tendency to associate creativity and genius with maleness, and to exclude certain types of art practitioner from the 'great artist' narrative.

Gift of Leo Christie 2003. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Anne Zahalka/Copyright Agency, 2022

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

Anne Zahalka (age 33 in 1990)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Leo Christie (10 portraits)

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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