National Portrait Gallery

An extensive collection of portraits of Australia's most prominent figures.
Melanie Colwell
Published on June 23, 2021


Whether you like to track down nature, food, wine or culture on your getaways, you're sure to find it in the Canberra region. For the art lovers among us, that means hitting up exhibitions at the national galleries. And one that needs to be on your hit list is the National Portrait Gallery.

It took a long time and lots of lobbying from the arts community for Australia's own national portrait gallery to be established. Finally, in 1999, the first exhibition was unveiled, featuring Barry Humphries (1958) by Clifton Pugh and The movie star (1985), a photograph of Indigenous actor and dancer David Gulpilil, by Tracey Muffat.

In 2008, the gallery moved into its current home on King Edward Terrace and its collection has blown out to over 2300 individual works spanning four centuries and many subjects. You'll be able to see Archibald Prize winner Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu (2009) by Guy Maestri, a watercolour of Midnight Oil by eX de Medici's and Victorian Tapestry Workshop's woven portrait Elisabeth Murdoch (2000) — among many, many others.


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