My Favourite Australian launched

    01 January 1990

    All Australians have a favourite Aussie: whether it is an historic figure, sporting hero, popular idol, cultural great or the local publican.

    My Favourite Australian celebrates great Australians and allows the nation to collectively honour those who have made a significant contribution to our society.

    ABC TV is asking the people of Australia to nominate a collection of outstanding Australians they would like to see in the new National Portrait Gallery, opening in December 2008.

    The public can vote in two categories. In the Popular category you can vote for anyone from the public sphere and from any walk of life. There is an inspiration list on the website of just some of the people who have helped shape Australia.

    You can also vote in the Unsung Hero category. Is there someone who has changed your life or made a difference to you and your community? Is it your local fire fighter, charity worker, carer or maybe an inspirational teacher? Voters are simply asked to articulate why their nominated individual should count.

    My Favourite Australian is a unique multi-platform collaboration between ABC TV and the National Portrait Gallery, in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts and the Nelson Meers Foundation. It follows the huge success of My Favourite Album, Book, and Film which resulted in television specials on ABC TV.

    This year instead of the vote culminating in a TV special, My Favourite Australian will lead to the commissioning of 10 new media artists to each create original portraits. The artists will be given free reign to masterfully create their interpretations, ‘portraits’, of the Australians they are profiling – they may use sourced archival images and footage as well as new imagery to create the works.

    The digital portraits will form one of the exhibitions at the opening of the new National Portrait Gallery in Canberra in December 2008. Following the exhibition the digital portraits will then be presented for broadcast as short videos on ABC1 and ABC2 and may be viewed via streaming and downloading on a dedicated ABC website.

    “This collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts gives us a fresh new approach to the “My Favourite” format. It’s exciting that this collaboration will stir up an evocative list of favourite Australians resulting in unique digital portraits”, said Amanda Duthie, Head ABC TV Arts, Entertainment and Comedy.

    “The National Portrait Gallery is for all Australians and takes its national role seriously. This project gives everyone a chance to help us find and celebrate people who have shaped our culture, history and identity”, said Andrew Sayers, Director, National Portrait Gallery

    What will the results say about us? The selection of Australians voted as the peoples’ favourites will offer an insight into how we perceive our heroes, our anti-heroes and how we view ourselves as a nation. The list will provide great grist for water cooler comment, with voting opening on Sunday 27 April.

    HOW TO VOTE: Voting opens from Sunday 27 April and closes Friday 30 May 2008. You can vote via the website - www.abc.net.au/myfavouriteaustralian; SMS 19 799 222 OR call 1902 555 005. SMS and calls cost 55c per vote and are GST inclusive.

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