The National Portrait Gallery sits just up the road from the National Gallery of Australia, so if you're visiting one, you really should visit the other. Queens hang on the walls with pop superstars, rock gods, literary legends and political leaders, and each portrait is an attempt to delve into their character, their story, and their life. While there are some international portraits hanging here, you'll mostly find famous Australians, and the Portrait Gallery helps to show the face of Australia.
An important thing to remember at the gallery is that the focus is on the subject. Unlike other galleries where the artist and their intention is proudly displayed beside their work, at the National Portrait Gallery each photo is accompanied with a story about the subject, and about how, when, and why the portrait was taken. From Queen Elizabeth set against a gold glitter background for her Diamond Jubilee, to Kylie Minogue posing with a soldier in East Timor, each one tells an interesting story.
One of the most striking images in the gallery is that of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, this portrait is joined by those of other Australian musicians and singers from Paul Kelly, to Nick Cave, to Reg Mombassa, and Chrissy Amphlett. Musicians are joined by authors like Peter Carey, Elizabeth Jolly, and Tim Winton, and they are joined by actors, sports persons, politicians, and many more Australians who have made an impact on the country. They take the form of different media: photos, paintings, sketches or sculptures, but each captures something unique.
The National Portrait Gallery is free to enter, and is open 7 days a week from 10am-5pm. There are free tours that operate around the gallery, and you can also find special events held there on various occasions.