23 October - 13 November 2013

Vincent Namatjira, John Howard congratulating Tony Abbott, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 120.5 x 100 cm

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In association with Iwantja Arts & Crafts, we are very pleased to introduce Vincent Namatjira with this small body of recent paintings. Namatjira is the grandson of the famous founding Hermannsburg water-colourist, Albert Namatjira (1902-1959). Namatjira senior was the first Indigenous person to become an Australian citizen, the first to be presented to the Queen, Elizabeth II (she also collected his work), and the first have art exhibited in a public art gallery.

Namatjira junior has followed his grandfather into painting, but has created a style that is distinctly his own. Much of Namatjira's work focuses on the legacy of his legendary grandfather, as well as depicting historical and contemporary events. Namatjira has a strong interest in politics and current affairs, which is reflected in poignantly in John Howard congratulating Tony Abbott. His investigations of Australian history post-contact are succinctly captured in Captain Cook, who - for Namatjira - becomes a significant personal marker: "This painting is important for me, because it was the beginning of our shared history, everything after Cook was between all of us."

Through his self-portrait, he places himself within contemporary Australian life relative to his grandfather, his culture, and mainstream Australian life. Namatjira is acutely aware of the power of art to not only pay homage to his grandfather and his traditional roots, but to express his views and observations of the world around him.

In 2013, his unique talent has seen him become a finalist in the prestigious Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award; the John Fries Memorial Award; and the Outback Art Award, Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery.