Albert Namatjira: life and works

Albert Namatjira (born Elea Namatjira; 28 July 1902 – 8 August 1959) was an Aboriginal artiste from the MacDonnell Ranges in Central Australia. As a voyager of contemporary Indigenous Australian art, he was the most famous Indigenous Australian of his generation.

A fanatic of the Western Arrernte people, Namatjira was born and raised at the Hermannsburg Lutheran Mission outdoor Alice Springs. He showed assimilation in art from an beforehand age but it was not until 1934 (aged 32) and below the counsel of Rex Battarbee that he began to paint seriously. Namatjira’s in abundance detailed, Western art-influenced watercolours of the outback departed significantly from the abstract designs and symbols of established Aboriginal art, and inspired the Hermannsburg School of painting. He became a household make known in Australia and reproductions of his works hung in many homes throughout the nation. As the first prominent Aboriginal artist to statute in a western idiom, at the time he was widely regarded as representative of booming assimilation policies; however, later re-evaluation of his pretense showed that he collective many elements of customary culture and art in his work.

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Namatjira was the first Northern Territory Aboriginal person to be freed from restrictions that made Aboriginal people wards of the State, when in 1957, he was arranged restricted Australian citizenship, giving him the right to vote, have limited house rights and purchase alcohol. In 1956 his portrait, by William Dargie, became the first of an Aboriginal person to win the Archibald Prize. Namatjira was after that awarded the Queen’s Coronation Medal in 1953, and was honoured with an Australian postage stamp in 1968.

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