Polly Borland: Australians
Past exhibition archive
25 May - 17 September 2000
Robert Walters, the global recruitment consultancy
Also funded by
A&B Arts & Business
With additional support from
Tapestry and Agfa
Polly Borland: Australians was an exhibition of 54 new portraits of significant Australians who have made a contribution to British life and who have largely made their home or based their professional life in the UK. Born in Melbourne in 1959, Borland had lived in the UK for eight years and established an international reputation for both her portraiture and off-beat reportage, with work appearing regularly in the national and international press. Polly Borland: Australians, was been jointly organised by the National Portrait Gallery, London and the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.
The portraits in the exhibition reflected the many fields in which Australians have excelled, including art, business, literature, science, music, media, architecture and fashion. The subjects included the singer Kylie Minogue, Leanne Benjamin, Principal Ballerina, The Royal Ballet Company, Sir Robert May, Chief Scientific Advisor to the British Government, musician Nick Cave, actress Cate Blanchett, author Germaine Greer and comedian Barry Humphries. They represent a cross section of diverse, established and emerging talents, and reflect that particular streak of radicalism which has helped establish Australia on the world map, as a nation of can-doers, daredevil entrepreneurs, successful artists and competitive sportsmen and women.
Borland says of her work, "I'm fascinated by people - I love meeting them, I love photographing them, I love finding out about them. The best portraiture is when you get beneath the skin of someone, it's psychologically revealing. You penetrate below the surface."
Polly Borland won the 1994 John Kobal Photography Portrait Award and is married to the Australian film-maker John Hillcoat (Ghosts of the Civil Dead and To Have and To Hold). A selection of her photographs from a forthcoming photographic book on Adult Babies or Infantilists, was exhibited as part of last summer's South Bank's Meltdown Festival, of which Nick Cave was artistic director.