Seeing the centre
The art of Albert Namatjira 1902-1959

A National Gallery of Australia Travelling Exhibition
Proudly sponsored by MARSH

4 October 2002 - 19 January 2003

Albert Namatjira painted
Not so much the things he saw
But what he felt inside …

From Archie ROACH 'Native Born'
(Melbourne: Mushroom Music Publishing 1990)

Albert Namatjira (1902-1959) is one of Australia's best known artists, whose landscape paintings
have become iconic images synonymous with the Australian outback. His paintings are
expressions of his personal relationship with The Centre, in particular, Western Aranda (Arrernte)
country to which he was spiritually bound. Namatjira's distinctive deep blue and purple shadows
of Mount Hermannsburg, the iron red of Standley Chasm and Glen Helen Gorge, the gnarled
white trunks of ghost gums and river red gums have etched their way into the Australian psyche.

No longer can Namatjira's work be dismissed as purely derivative or decorative, rather, he is now
seen to have deliberately reworked the models of European watercolour tradition for his own
purposes. His images show a powerful and potent land created in the Dreaming, that transcends
the influence of European settlement. The exhibition and its catalogue seeks to redress previous
misconceptions about the art and life of Namatjira.

Roger Butler, the coordinating curator responsible for this exhibition, and Alison French,
researcher and author of the exhibition catalogue, have drawn from public and private collections
some of the finest watercolours by Namatjira. Contextual works will also be on display from his
early years in Hermannsburg situated west of Alice Springs, where he learned to paint from artist,
Rex Battarbee.

The exhibition will conclude with works that show responses from both Aboriginal and non-
Aboriginal perspectives, including watercolours by other members of his family and Sir William
Dargie's portrait of Namatjira that won the 1956 Archibald Prize.

The National Gallery of Australia has organised this exhibition to tour nationally and coincide
with the centenary of Namatjira's birth on 28 July 1902, when it opens at the Araluen Centre for
Arts and Entertainment in Alice Springs on Saturday, 27 July 2002. From there it will tour to the
National Gallery of Australia for its 20th birthday celebration, Art Gallery of South Australia,
National Gallery of Victoria and Queensland Art Gallery.

The Araluen Centre for Arts and Entertainment, Alice Springs NT,

28 July - 22 September 2002
(1st venue in Alice Springs to coincide with the centenary of Albert Namatjira's birth on 28 July 2002)

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra ACT,
5 October 2002 - 19 January 2003

Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide SA,
7 March - 4 May 2003

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne VIC,
24 May - 27 July 2003

Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane QLD,
9 August - 2 November 2003

*Exhibition dates may be subject to change, please contact venue before your visit.

For further information contact:
Public Affairs, National Gallery of Australia, +61 2 6240 6431 or
Travelling Exhibitions, National Gallery of Australia,+61 2 6240 655