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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.

Richard Walley

2015
Dr Julie Dowling

synthetic polymer paint and red ochre on canvas (support: 152.5 cm x 121.5 cm)

Richard Walley OAM (b. 1953) is a performer, artist, writer and Indigenous rights advocate. A Nyoongar man, he began working with the Aboriginal Housing Board and the Aboriginal Legal Service in Western Australia in the 1970s. In 1978, he co-founded the Middar Aboriginal Theatre with friends including Ernie Dingo, with whom he devised and performed the very first 'Welcome to Country' in 1976. During the 1980s Walley was involved in stage and television productions, and since 1996 has released several recordings, among them Two tribes (2003), which blends traditional sounds with rap and hip hop. The 1991 NAIDOC Aboriginal Artist of the Year, Walley is a former Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council. In recent years he has worked as a cultural awareness advisor to BHP and other organisations.

Julie Dowling, an artist of Badimaya, Irish and Scottish Catholic heritage, draws on diverse traditions including European portraiture and Christian icons, mural painting, dotting and Indigenous Australian iconography. Her painting of a kangaroo-skin-cloaked Walley depicts him as a respected elder with his beloved didgeridoo and incorporates ochre sourced from Yamatji country.

Commissioned with funds provided by Neil Archibald and Alan R. Dodge AM, Brandon and Angela Munro, Dr Walter Ong and Graeme Marshall 2015
© Julie Dowling/Copyright Agency, 2021

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

Dr Julie Dowling (age 46 in 2015)

Dr Richard Walley OAM (age 62 in 2015)

Subject professions

Activism

Performing arts

Supported by

Alan Dodge AM (3 portraits supported)

Neil Archibald (1 portrait supported)

Walter Ong and Graeme Marshall (1 portrait supported)

Brandon and Angela Munro (1 portrait supported)

Related portraits

1. Jack Thompson, 2013. All Dr Julie Dowling.

Related information

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

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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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