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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.

Bust of Peter Garrett

1991-2016
Peter Schipperheyn

carved marble on travertine marble base (70.4 cm x 48 cm depth 43 cm, including base: 190.4 cm x 58.0 cm depth 45.0 cm)

Peter Garrett AM (b. 1953), musician, environmental activist, and former politician, is the lead singer of the band Midnight Oil. From the start, the Oils' songs aggressively addressed social concerns such as the environment, uranium mining and Aboriginal rights. In 1987 they released their eighth album, Diesel and Dust, which sold more than two million copies. It included the hit 'Beds are Burning', performed by the band at the close of the 2000 Olympics in black overalls printed with the word 'sorry'. President of the Australian Conservation Foundation from 1989 to 1993, and from 1998 to 2004, Garrett entered Federal Parliament in 2004 as Labor member for Kingsford Smith. As Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts he was instrumental in the campaign against 'scientific whaling' in the Antarctic. After resigning from politics in 2013, Garrett released his memoir, Big Blue Sky (2015) and a solo album, A Version of Now (2016). Midnight Oil's successful 'Great Circle' world tour of 2017 comprised more than 70 shows across fourteen countries.

Drawn to Garrett's legendary presence on stage, Peter Schipperheyn made a model of the musician using a plaster mould and clay study in 1992. Three years later he chose the Statuario marble block from the same quarry used by Michelangelo in Carrara, Italy. He carved the oversized marble portrait bust between 2014 and 2016.

Gift of the artist 2018. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Peter Schipperheyn/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

Peter Schipperheyn (age 36 in 1991)

Peter Garrett AM (age 38 in 1991)

Donated by

Peter Schipperheyn (1 portrait)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

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.

Peter Schipperheyn with bust of Peter Garrett
Peter Schipperheyn with bust of Peter Garrett
Peter Schipperheyn with bust of Peter Garrett
Peter Schipperheyn with bust of Peter Garrett

Peter Schipperheyn

'A quintessential Australian character'

Portrait story

Sculptor Peter Schipperheyn talks about working with marble and his portrait of Peter Garrett.

Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground
Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground
Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground
Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground

Seduce and Destroy

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2001

Magda Keaney explores the symbolism in eX de Medici's portrait of Midnight Oil.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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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