|When one thinks of a portrait, head and shoulders usually come to mind. Occasionally, one sees a full-bodied portrait. Traditional portaiture concentrated upon the face. However, I find myself attracted to hands. So during my visit to the Gallery, that is all I photographed. This will not be a guessing competition, though.|
ABOVE: the hands of Emily Kame Kngwarreye as painted by Jenny Sages
Emily (1910-1996) first painted on canvas in 1988. Yes, at the age of 78. She spent her early years working with camels and as a stockhand in the Northern Territory, and as she aged she became an Aboriginal elder in women's ceremonial business. She spent a decade furiously producing luminous modern works based upon "country".
BELOW: the hands of Lowitja O'Donoghue (b. 1932) as painted by Robert Hannaford
Lowitja was removed from her parents at the age of two, together with all her siblings. She did not see her mother for another 33 years. In that time, she qualified as a nurse, and became an activist for her people and for "The Stolen Generation". She spent most of her life in public service.
Astoundingly, the hands show the history.
|The National Portrait Gallery in Canberra opened in December 2008.|