Migration and Identity in Australia

By National Portrait Gallery

This resource is intended for teachers and secondary school students. It explores
migrant stories of individuals from the period of early European colonisation
to today. Portraits featured reveal different experiences of migration - the transformation
that can occur individually and culturally, challenges faced by migrants and by
indigenous people and opportunities presented. 

Bungaree, late chief of the Broken Bay tribe, Sydney (1836) by William FernyhoughNational Portrait Gallery

Colonisation and its effects

These portraits consider figures from the early colonisation period in Australia’s history, European migrants and Indigenous people affected by European migration to Australia.

Focus areas include:

• Australia’s early colonisation, contact between societies and the effects upon people and their environments
• Roles that individuals made in shaping a colony
• The short and long term impacts of movement of peoples during this period including the effects of contact (intended and unintended) between European settlers in Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Lady Ellen Stirling (circa 1828) by Thomas PhillipsNational Portrait Gallery

Free settlement 

The British settlement of New South Wales was established in 1788 as a penal colony to address overcrowded prisons in Britain, consisting of convicts and officers led by Governor Arthur Phillip. Not long after, in 1793, the first free settlers from England arrived. The settlers displayed ambition, a sense of adventure and willingness to work hard as they boarded a ship for many months to an unknown land. From 1805 the British Government began to actively encourage free settlers to emigrate to New South Wales. People were enticed with land grants, free convict labour or free passage. 

Ellen Stirling was the charming and energetic wife of naval officer James Stirling.

In 1826, James Stirling was tasked with further exploring the west coast of Australia after he eagerly campaigned to pursue business interests in the area.

The British were eager to establish colonies that would prevent the French from settling in this part of Australia.

Stirling convinced the British Government to post him as Lieutenant Governor and to allow him to establish a new colony on the Swan River - what we now call Perth.

For Ellen, the prospect of establishing a life in the new colony was exciting. Heavily pregnant, with her husband and son she set sail in 1829. Ellen gave birth en route.

Ellen spent 8 years in Perth.

By 1830 Perth consisted of around twenty small wooden houses. Most children were educated at home, if at all, but Ellen was determined to see the development of schools in the settlement.

Ellen also supported the sick and bereaved and provided comfort to women experiencing homesickness in the new colony.

Imagine you are Ellen arriving in a new place to establish a new life.

Where would you put your energies? How would you contribute to the new colony?

The artist who made this portrait, Thomas Phillips, painted Ellen around the time of her departure for Western Australia. The portrait was intended to be an image through which her family could remember her.

If you were moving far away, what would you like your family and friends to remember about you? How could this be depicted in a portrait?

How would you pose? What would you wear?

Would you have something in the background?

What objects would you like to be included in the portrait?

Self portrait (circa 1849) by Charles RodiusNational Portrait Gallery

Convict country

Charles Rodius also migrated to Australia in 1829, but not as a free settler. He was sentenced to transportation to New South Wales for seven years for stealing a woman's handbag. 

In Sydney Rodius worked as a draughtsman for the Department of Public Works. Colonial administrators identified his talents as an artist and used this for service to the state.

Rodius also taught drawing to children of prominent Sydney residents.

Dr. Ludwig Leichhardt (1846) by Charles RodiusNational Portrait Gallery

Over time this led to social connections. With the support of his patrons Rodius received exemption from government service.

He went on to create a career as an artist, making many portraits of lawyers, politicians, business people, landowners, ex-convicts and Aboriginal peoples.

In the new, increasingly prosperous colony portraiture was popular.

IMAGINE

Imagine you are creating a life for yourself in a new colony.

During this period, people who could afford to commission a portrait of themselves would typically display the portrait in their home, in rooms where guests would be able to see them.

What benefits might there have been from commissioning an artist like Rodius to make a portrait of yourself or your family?

What may have been gained by displaying your portrait prominently?

Aborigines at Oyster Cove, Tasmania (1858 (printed 1890s)) by Francis NixonNational Portrait Gallery

Continuing culture

Truganini (c1812-1876) lived in Tasmania during the 19th Century when hostility between settlers and the Palawa, the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, escalated and resulted in many deaths. 

Truggernana, a native of southern part of V.D. Land (1835) by Benjamin DuterrauNational Portrait Gallery

A settler policy was put forward, to remove Aboriginal peoples to a mission station on Flinders Island in Bass Strait.

Initially Truganini acted as a guide and interpreter, aiding the ‘conciliator of Aborigines’, George Augustus Robinson (1788-1866), by persuading her people to go into exile.

Robinson was tasked with ‘christianizing and europeanizing’ Aboriginal peoples, and teaching them to be farmers. Truganini left and upon her return discovered that most of the people she supported to move to Flinders Island had died soon after arrival.

Aborigines at Oyster Cove, Tasmania (1858 (printed 1890s)) by Francis NixonNational Portrait Gallery

Truganini later travelled again with Robinson and four other Aborigines. They joined a group of whalers.

In 1841 all five were charged for the murder of the whalers and the men in the group were hung. Truganini eventually returned to her traditional territory at Oyster Cove, where she resumed a traditional lifestyle.

When one of her companions, William Lanne, died, his body was dismembered to be used for ‘scientific’ purposes. After this Truganini expressed her concern that when her time came to die the museum would claim her body.

She later moved to Hobart with the Dandridge family and died there at age 64. Her body was buried at the female penitentiary and later exhumed by the Royal Society of Tasmania, to be used for ‘scientific purposes’, but was then placed in the Tasmanian Museum where it was on display from 1904-1947.

Aborigines, the last of the race, Tasmania (c. 1866) by Henry FrithNational Portrait Gallery

A hundred years after Truganini’s death her remains were returned to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. Her skeleton was ceremonially cremated and her ashes scattered in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.

Portraits such as these were made for a market of people who wanted photographs of Tasmania’s Palawa people, because they believed that they were disappearing.

Truganini for example, was incorrectly described as the ‘Last Tasmanian Aborigine.’ In England and Europe people wanted to see images of Indigenous people from all over the world, as travel, exploration and migration introduced them to cultures and people they found exotic and curious.

Trukanini (dry plate negative (1890s) copy of original wet plate negative (1866)) by Charles WoolleyNational Portrait Gallery

In a world opened up by travel and exploration, collecting institutions and scientific disciplines such as ethnography emerged.

Unlike other portraits of the time, which were intended as a keepsake or to create an image of accomplishment and success in a new colony, these photographs of Truganini and her companions were produced for ethnographic purposes.

Photographic evidence of communities that seemed exotic to Europeans, was sought by institutions in order to satisfy their research agendas.

Self portrait (circa 1849) by Charles RodiusNational Portrait Gallery

Compare these portraits from the Colonial period.

What are their similarities and differences?

Lady Ellen Stirling (circa 1828) by Thomas PhillipsNational Portrait Gallery

Trukanini (dry plate negative (1890s) copy of original wet plate negative (1866)) by Charles WoolleyNational Portrait Gallery

Consider the relationship between Truganini and the photographer, Charles Woolley.


What may have characterised this relationship, compared with relationships between artists and subjects that informed other portraits of this period?

What important issues must be addressed by museums that hold collections of portraits of indigenous people?

Thomas Sutcliffe Mort and his wife Theresa (circa. 1847) by UnknownNational Portrait Gallery

Trade and International Relations

These portraits explore the connections between Australia and people and places across the globe. They reveal stories of individuals who have migrated to Australia and how these people have contributed to Australia’s cultural, economic and social development.

Focus areas include:

• What life was like for people during the Colonial period, the reasons for their actions and effects upon Australia’s development
• Roles that individuals made in shaping a colony
• Contributions of migrants to Australia’s economic and social development
• Laws made by Federal Parliament between 1901-1914 (The Immigration Restriction Act)

Lowe Kong Meng (c.1887) by Ludwig Lang (lithographer) after Johnstone O'Shannessy & CoNational Portrait Gallery

Lowe Kong Meng was born in 1831 in the British colony of Penang. He was educated in Mauritius where he learnt English and French. When Kong Meng heard about the discovery of gold in Victoria he sailed in his own ship to Melbourne, arriving in 1853.

IMAGINE

Imagine you are moving to a place where they speak a different language.

What skills would you need if you didn’t know the languages of the cultures you passed through while travelling, and the language of your new country?

Kong Meng worked as a Merchant. In 1854 he established Kong Meng & Co. in Little Bourke Street where he sold tea and other delicacies. Some of the goods were imported from China and India. Others were from closer to home; for example, he used some of the six ships he owned to collect edible sea cucumbers in the Torres Strait.

He also worked in mining, insurance, banking and sugar refining. The extent of his business ventures meant he was likely to have been the wealthiest Chinese resident in Melbourne at the time. He used his wealth to support churches and public charities.

Kong Meng also became an important leader for the Chinese community in Melbourne. He helped his fellow countrymen find work, settled disputes and urged them to value British rule. He also organised petitions and publicly opposed anti-Chinese initiatives. In one pamphlet he argued that the 1860 Peking Treaty which allowed British subjects to enter China should be reciprocated to allow Chinese subjects to enter British territories.

Why was it important that Kong Meng helped his community?

Kong Meng married Mary Ann Prussia, a Tasmanian woman, in 1860. They had twelve children. At the start of World War One Kong Meng’s son, Herbert, enlisted in the army and joined the 7th Battalion. In 1916 another of his sons, George, tried to enlist but was told he was ‘not substantially of European origin’ so was unable to fight in the war.

Even though Kong Meng’s sons were raised in Australia they faced discrimination. The Immigration Restriction Act was passed in 1901. This legislation aimed to exclude non-European migrants from settling in Australia.

What kind of social and cultural environment would this Act have fostered?

How might this have shaped the experiences of non-European Australians, like Kong Meng and his family?

Shigeo Sawada (c.1915) by Kan StudiosNational Portrait Gallery

Shigeo Sawada was born in Japan in 1890. He moved to Sydney in 1915 with Okura & Co. Trading. One of his early roles was to reassure wool brokers that the Japanese market was legitimate after Germany was suspected of trading wool using Japanese names. He became well known amongst traders and in 1937 Sawada became the Managing Director of Okura & Co.

People often immigrate to a different country for employment.

What kind of employment would be better suited to making a new life in an unfamiliar place?

Trade creates important relationships between countries and their citizens.

Between World War 1 and World War 2 Japan was one of Australia’s key trading partners and Okura & Co. was especially interested in Australian wool, barley, wheat, flour, hides and pelts.


How may migration have aided trade relationships?

Sawada lived in Mosman in Sydney with his wife Thelma and adopted child Ron Wylie. He felt connected to both Japan and Australia.
When he died his ashes were divided between Mosman and Japan.


Do you feel connected to different countries around the world?

What determines the strength of the connection you feel: residing in, working in or visiting a place? Or does it come from something else?

Richard Windeyer (c. 1828) by Charles Richard BoneNational Portrait Gallery

Richard Windeyer was born in London and moved to New South Wales in 1835 when he was in his late 20s.

In Sydney he established a business as a barrister and was renowned for his articulate arguments in court.

By 1842 Windeyer owned 30,000 acres of land in the Hunter Valley. On his property he ran cattle, horses and pigs. He also grew sugar-cane and wheat and had successful vineyards.

Agriculture in the colony of New South Wales was marked by trial and error as settlers experimented with growing crops and raising livestock in an unfamiliar climate. Whilst Windeyer imported the colony’s first reaping machine, the only prize he ever won was for his pumpkins!

IMAGINE

What challenges do you think settlers would have faced establishing farms in the colonies in the 1800s?

How do these challenges compare to those faced by farmers today?

In 1948 Windeyer was elected to the first New South Wales Legislative Council. Occupying a prominent role on the council, he was involved in decision making on a range of law reform including advocating free trade and social welfare.

Windeyer set up a school on his estate and was a member of the Aboriginal Protection Society. As a member of this group he successfully lobbied against a law that prevented Aboriginal peoples from giving evidence in court.

Windeyer was known as a formidable politician and barrister but gentle-natured in his relationships with friends and family. He was known for his ambition, liberal politics, fierce independence and honest character.

How would you describe the form of this portrait? What is its purpose?

IMAGINE

This portrait is embedded within a locket. Lockets are mementoes or keepsakes, worn around the neck. They often also held a lock of hair.

Who might have owned this locket with an image of Richard Windeyer?

Untitled (preparatory study for sculpture of Dr John Yu) (2003) by Ah XianNational Portrait Gallery

Conflicts and new starts

This section considers some of the impacts of world events upon migration to Australia and ways that migration has contributed to Australia’s identity as a nation.

Focus areas include:

• Stories of people who migrated to Australia since Federation, including Asia, and reasons they migrated
• Contributions of migrants to Australia’s economic and social development
• Post WWII migration to Australia and influence/ impact of world events
• Contribution of migration to Australia’s changing identity as a nation

Irina Baronova (handing on the baton) (2007) by Jenny SagesNational Portrait Gallery

The Ballets Russes introduced modern dance to Australia.

Serge Diaghilev (1872-1929) was a flamboyant Russian arts producer. He was based in Paris from 1909 where he collaborated with artists and performers to create opera and dance productions that brought elements of Russian culture to a wider Western audience, translating the foundations of ballet in movement, design and theatre.

Following Diaghilev’s death in 1929 a number of Ballet Russes companies formed, three of which visited Australia in tours organised by the entrepreneur Colonel Wassily de Basil.

The Ballet Russes company introduced to Australia previously not seen choreography, design and performance. Forty four performances, most Australian premieres, were presented over the three tours.

The de Basil Ballet Russes had a significant influence on the development of the arts in Australia, heightening audience interest and bringing with it a number of dancers, including Edouard Borovansky, Helene Kirsova, Kira and Serge Bousloff. A group of Polish dancers - Raisse Kouznetsova, Valery Shaievsky and Edouard Sobishevsky chose to stay in, or return to Australia. These artists shaped Australia’s relationship to ballet, for example Kirsova founded the Kirsova Ballet, Borovansky the Borovansky Ballet, Bousloff the West Australian Ballet and Kouznetsova and her colleagues the Polish Australian Ballet.

Irina Baronova escaped the Russian revolution with her family, settling in Paris and becoming one of the ‘baby ballerina’s of the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo, training with the great Olga Preobrajenska.

When Irina Baronova came to Australia in the late 1930s she created a sensation in roles such as the Queen of Shemakhan in 'Le Coq d'or', as Aurora in 'Aurora's wedding' and as 'Passion' in Massine's 'Les presages'. More than fifty years later, when she had moved to Australia and become a patron of the Australian Ballet School, she shared her unique experiences with young people in Melbourne.

Dr John Yu Dr John Yu by Ah XianNational Portrait Gallery

John Yu was born in Nanking in China in 1934. Yu was smuggled out at age three, shortly before Nanking fell to Japanese forces in the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Yu moved with his family to Australia as a refugee where he joined relatives who had migrated to Australia in the 1860s during the Victorian Gold Rush.

Yu was educated in Sydney. He worked as a paediatrician at the New Children's Hospital, Westmead, from 1961.

Yu retired in 1997 as the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer. For his work, Yu was awarded Australian of the Year in 1996 and upon accepting the award he said, ‘I am proud of my Chinese heritage but even prouder to be an Australian’.

Dr John Yu (2004) by Ah XianNational Portrait Gallery

Ah Xian, the artist, was born in Beijing in 1960. Already an established artist in China, Xian sought political asylum in Australia following the Tiananmen Square protest in 1989 during which the military responded violently to student-led protests in Beijing.

Xian’s application for permanent residency in Australia took many years to process during which time he worked as a house painter. It wasn’t until 2000 that he held his first solo art show in Australia.

Being forced to flee China disrupted Xian’s career.

If you were forced to leave your country as a refugee, what conditions would create obstacles to a satisfying new life?

In contrast, what conditions would make it possible to flourish and make a contribution?

Dr John Yu Dr John Yu by Ah XianNational Portrait Gallery

This porcelain bust has many traditional Chinese references in order to celebrate Yu’s and Xian’s shared cultural heritage.

The green glaze, called celadon, is a ceramic style that originates in China. Yu is keenly interested in South East Asian decorative arts and collects ceramics.

The figures of little children climbing on Yu’s portrait reference depictions of the Laughing Buddha. Guanyin (the Buddhist Bodhisattva of compassion) is also a reference.

CREATE

Create a self-portrait using any media that is available or interests you. Think carefully about textures, surfaces and objects that you include in your portrait, what they represent and how their selection and placement might best convey what you want to communicate.


How would you depict your cultural heritage and personal qualities?

What objects would you choose to represent change such as movement to another place or country, or personal changes you have experienced as a result of external factors?

Peter Skrzynecki (2012) by John SlaytorNational Portrait Gallery

Peter Skrzynecki was born in Germany in 1945 and was of Polish and Ukrainian descent.

At age four he immigrated to Australia with his parents. Initially the family were taken to a transit camp in Italy before boarding a ship, which sailed for just under a month, from Naples to Sydney.

Skrzynecki’s family were then moved to migrant camps in Bathurst and Parkes where they lived for two years before moving to Sydney.

In Sydney, Skrzynecki’s parents worked hard to build a life for their family, eventually owning their own house and magnificent vegetable garden.

His parents were determined to make the most of their new life in Australia but they also missed their home countries. “Zal” is a Polish word that is similar to “sorrow”. It can be used to describe feelings of physical, emotional and spiritual loss.

IMAGINE

How might having your own home help you to feel settled in a new place?

What significance do you think your new home would hold for you?

Skrzynecki has published over a dozen books of prose and poetry. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his contribution to multicultural literature.

In his book 'Immigrant Chronicle', Skrzynecki recounted his family’s experiences of migration and the hurdles they encountered adjusting to their new life in Australia.

His work is often deeply personal, writing about his own feelings of identity and his relationship to his parents.

This poem from Immigrant Chronicle is titled 'Postcard'.

Post card

1
A post card sent by a friend
Haunts me
Since its arrival –
Warsaw: Panorama of the Old Town
He requests I show it
To my parents.

Red buses on a bridge
Emerging from a corner –
High-rise flats and something
Like a park borders
The river with its concrete pylons.
The sky’s the brightest shade.

2
Warsaw, Old Town,
I never knew you
Except in the third person –
Great city
That bombs destroyed,
Its people massacred
Or exiled – You survived
In the minds
Of a dying generation
Half a world away.
They shelter you
And defend the patterns
Of your remaking,
Condemn your politics,
Cherish your old religion
And drink to freedom
Under the White Eagle’s flag.

For the moment,
I repeat, I never knew you,
Let me be.
I’ve seen red buses
Elsewhere
And all rivers have
An obstinate glare.
My father
Will be proud
Of your domes and towers,
My mother
Will speak of her
Beloved Ukraine.
What’s my choice
To be?

I can give you
The recognition
Of eyesight and praise.
What more
Do you want
Besides
The gift of despair?

3
I stare
At the photograph
And refuse to answer
The voices
Of red gables
And a cloudless sky.

On the river’s bank
A lone tree
Whispers:
“We will meet
Before you die.”

How does the poem, 'Postcard', share with the reader Skrzynecki’s experience of belonging/not belonging, as an Australian child of Polish migrants?

Akira Isogawa (2001) by Peter Brew-BevanNational Portrait Gallery

Migration and Australia’s
changing identity 

This section explores Australian cultural diversity through portraiture. It reveals changing aspects of Australian identity and the contributions migration has made to those changes.   

Professor Penny Sackett, astronomer and physicist (2011) by Andrew MezeiNational Portrait Gallery

Born in Melbourne in 1963, Andrew Mezei, the artist who created this portrait of Penny Sackett, is the son of Hungarian refugees. After World War II, Mezei’s parents ran a leather goods workshop steeped in a culture of fine European tradition.

That tradition is reflected in Andrew’s work. He grinds his own pigments and employs techniques from the Dutch Baroque period to create luminous paintings.

Conduct some more research about the life of Penny Sackett.

Professor Penny Sackett, astronomer and physicist (2011) by Andrew MezeiNational Portrait Gallery

In this portrait of Penny Sackett, what is conveyed by Mezei’s use of a luminous surface?

How is this traditional European painting approach meaningful in this portrait of a contemporary Australian?

On Reflection (2004) by Hossein Valamanesh and Angela ValamaneshNational Portrait Gallery

Angela and Hossein Valamanesh are both successful individual artists and have also collaborated on a number of public art projects.

Hossein Valamanesh grew up in Tehran where he attended the School of Fine Art. He graduated in 1970.

In 1973 he immigrated to Australia, where he continued to study at the South Australia School of Art. Working in a range of media, his art often draws on personal experience in Australia and memories of Iran.

Angela Valamanesh was born in Port Pirie in South Australia and also attended the South Australia School of Art where she graduated in 1977, majoring in ceramics.

She has since studied at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland and also completed a PhD. Her work is often inspired by the environment and natural forms.

Hossein and Angela were travelling in remote mountains in Iran when they met a group of Iraqi refugees who made a living taking portraits with pinhole cameras.

A pinhole camera is a very simple camera made from a light proof box, usually cardboard, with a small hole in it.

The couple had their portrait taken by the refugees. Upon their return to Australia they had the image digitally modified to create this artwork.

Why do you think the image has been printed as a negative?

Tourists sometimes take photographs of local people without permission. Journalists document the global movement of refugees with photographs.

What might it mean for a refugee (rather than a tourist or journalist) to have control of the camera and therefore the image that is made?

CREATE

Try making your own pinhole camera with recycled materials, using instructions you can find online.

How does your experience of making images in this way compare with using your mobile phone?

Make images of different people. A family member, a stranger and someone you know but not very well.

Do you find your relationship to your subject influences the final image? How?

Lee Lin Chin (2005) by Ingvar KenneNational Portrait Gallery

Lee Lin Chin was born in Indonesia to Chinese parents and grew up in Singapore. In 1968 she began working in television and radio. 12 years later, in 1980, Chin migrated to Australia.

In Australia Chin initially worked translating Chinese films. In 1987 after working for the ABC in Newcastle and Darwin she began presenting the World News on SBS, a multilingual and multicultural broadcaster. She retired in 2018.

Chin speaks English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Fukien.

What advantages are there to being multilingual?

How might being multilingual support an open-minded perspective?

Chin is admired for her eclectic style! In 2008, she curated an exhibition of fashion photography at the National Archives of Australia in Canberra entitled 'Strike a Pose...With Lee Lin Chin.'

In this photograph by Ingvar Kenne, Chin is wearing a dress by Akira Isogawa, a Japanese-born Australian fashion designer.

As well as being a style icon, Chin is well known for her comedy, media appearances, and advocacy for social change.
She has been called a “beacon for diversity” as she has expanded ideas of how presenters should look, speak and dress.

How has migration supported diversity in Australia? (Think of examples of cultural diversity in your own community).

Can you interview someone about their migration story? What have you learned that has surprised you?

Soffritto di Lucio (2009) by Garry Shead and Adrienne LevensonNational Portrait Gallery

Lucio Galletto OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) was an architecture student in Liguria, Italy. He met his partner, Sally, who was visiting Italy from Australia and he followed her to Australia to be with her.

Together they opened a restaurant in Balmain and later Paddington, in Sydney, called Lucio’s.

Lucio’s became known as one of Australia’s most awarded Italian restaurants. In the Italian tradition Lucio’s offered artists food in exchange for art that was then exhibited on the walls of the restaurants.

This portrait is titled ‘Soffritto di Lucio’. A soffritto is a combination of ingredients that provide a flavourful base for an Italian dish.

The artist, Gary Shead, describes this portrait as a ‘combination’ portrait, combining the many influences that have shaped Galletto’s career and influence in Australia.

It is notable that Shead has depicted different artistic influences, Galletto being renowned for his relationships with and support of artists.

The panorama depicts the village Ameglia, where Galletto grew up.

The appearance of Dante and Beatrice refer to Dante’s writing of his 'Divine Comedy' in Ameglia.

The 'Divine Comedy' is a narrative poem and considered one of the greatest works of world literature.

Galletto holds an image of The Last Supper.

The figure of Christ also refers to the writer DH Lawrence who spent time in a town close to Ameglia.

CREATE

Do you enjoy relationships with a particular group in the community? Perhaps a sporting club you are involved in, a friendship group or your family, it can be any group at all.

Can you identify people or events from the past that have contributed to that community?

How could you represent them visually, or tell a story about their importance to the community you belong to?

Collect materials with which to make a collage such as scrap paper, photographs, old drawings or pieces of writing.

Make individual pictures that tell the stories of individuals or events that make up the community you belong to.

Combine these images in a creative way, so that they tell their individual stories but also tell a larger story, as with this portrait of Galletto.

Will you put yourself in the centre? What locations, objects or other references are important in your portrait?

Consider your portrait.

How can identity be shaped by relationships and events?

Credits: Story

This exhibit was written by Meredith Hughes, Learning Facilitator at the National Portrait Gallery.

This exhibit was edited and produced by Alana Sivell, Digital Learning Coordinator at the National Portrait Gallery.

Thank you to all artists and organisations for permitting us to include these works.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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