“…portraiture generally has wide public interest – how we perceive and represent ourselves, and the histories that are constructed by our images of ourselves, are endlessly interesting and continually contested.” – Kate M Murphy (2004, 10)
“In sum, the NPG is an ongoing, dedicated centralised place of portraiture in Australia. The institution is however not exclusively concerned with this medium. In its permanent collection and display practices the NPG produces itself as a national centre at an intersection of the field of portraiture and the recognition of individuals as agents of historical significance or as distinctive ‘achievers’. …in its liberal focus on individuals as key actors in the Australian national mythscape the Portrait Gallery somewhat de-emphasises social structure or situation, and naturalises social hierarchies through the non-recognition of the contributions of most individuals within the national mythscape.” – Chris Beer (2009, 161)
“The whole concept of the national cultural heritage exploits the authority of art to glorify the present social system and its priorities.” – John Berger (1972, 29)