The National Portrait Gallery in Canberra has celebrated its 20th birthday, not with 20 candles on a cake but with 20 new portraits on the wall, among them Richard Tognetti, Jacki Weaver and Li Cunxin.

Richard Tognetti painted by Louise Hearman. Photographs courtesy of National Portrait Gallery

The specially commissioned works, created over the last 18 months, were unveiled today by the Gallery’s Director Angus Trumble who said that it was “a historic occasion” to commission 20 new portraits in one hit, adding: “Every single one has been privately funded by philanthropic support. They have not cost the tax payer a single penny.”

Featuring leading Australians across various fields of endeavour, the portraits will be shown in an exhibition called 20/20: Celebrating twenty years with twenty new portrait commissions, at the NPG from October 20 to February 10, 2019.

“We wanted to ensure that any such 20 extended to all corners of the country, and reflected a balance of gender, of occupation, of ethnicity and so forth that would reflect the character of Australian society today but also fasten on remarkable individuals spread across many walks of life,” said Trumble.