Robert Edwards Obituary, Death – This afternoon, I was given some unfortunate news. Unfortunately, Dr. Robert Edwards AO, whom I had the pleasure of photographing in 2009, has died away. The painting of the subject was commissioned by Art Exhibitions Australia in 2009 using monies donated by that organization for inclusion in the collection of The National Portrait Gallery. It is one of my most cherished photographs; with it, I attempted to capture the kind and sensitive nature of a man who devoted his life to documenting significant events in Australian history.
In 1997, he was appointed to serve as the National Portrait Gallery’s first ever Chair of the Board of Trustees. Edwards was in charge of establishing the course that the Gallery was going to take, deciding what it was for and who it was for, and supervising its policies regarding the development of its collection. He has maintained his cultural corporate commitment by serving terms on the Boards of Directors of the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, the Ian Potter Museum, and the South Australian Museum respectively. Now working as a Senior Consultant for Art Exhibitions Australia, he is also an Honorary Fellow at Museum Victoria and the National Museum of Australia. May Bob finally rest in peace.
After that, he spent the following five years serving as the Founding Director of the Aboriginal Arts Board of the Australia Council. He began his career in 1965 as a curator at the South Australian Museum and remained there until 1973. In 1984, he was appointed to his current position as the Founding Director of Museum Victoria. In his role as Chief Executive and Director of Art Exhibitions Australia Ltd, he was accountable for the coordination of the Chinese Entombed Warriors exhibition, which took place in the early 1980s, as well as a large number of additional “blockbusters” in the 1980s and 1990s.
I believe that my image of Bob also conveys the resolute determination that was necessary for him to accomplish the tasks that he did throughout his life. Dr. Robert (Bob) Edwards AO, an arts and museums administrator, was born in 1930 and began his professional life as an anthropologist in Arnhem Land during the 1950s and 1960s. He worked there for a number of years. Between the years of 1973 and 1975, he served as the deputy Principal of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.