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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.

Rosalie Kunoth

c. 1964
Donald Cameron

oil on canvas mounted on board (support: 41.0 cm x 36.0 cm, frame: 52.0 cm x 47.0 cm)
Image not available

Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM (1937-2022), Arrernte and Anmatjere woman and activist, was born on Utopia Station in the Northern Territory. Aged sixteen, she was cast in the lead role of the film Jedda, but the experience was largely negative, and at twenty she joined the Community of the Holy Name, an Anglican order of nuns in Melbourne. With the order's blessing, she left in 1967 to undertake community work with Aboriginal people. She was involved in various initiatives with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs before returning to the Northern Territory where she was active in politics, social work and environmental causes. In 1979, she sought election to the Legislative Assembly to fight the proposed construction of a dam which threatened sacred land. Having moved back to Utopia in 2008, she became a prominent spokesperson for First Nations peoples and human rights, addressing the UN's Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 2010 and speaking out on issues including the Northern Territory Intervention and Aboriginal deaths in custody. She was the Northern Territory Australian of the Year and the NAIDOC Person of the Year for 2015.

This portrait by Melbourne-born painter and engraver Donald Cameron shows Kunoth around the time she took her final vows in 1964.

Gift of Audrey Cameron in memory of the artist Donald Cameron 2022
© Estate of Donald Cameron

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

Donald Cameron (age 37 in 1964)

Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM (age 27 in 1964)

Subject professions

Activism

Performing arts

Religion

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
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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