The Albert Namatjira collection

Date published: 18 Feb 2018 - Written by Jasmin - Filed under australian capital territory


Namatjira's watercolours

Namatjira’s watercolours

Albert was the first Aboriginal artist to master the European art of watercolour painting without any formal education or training. His magical paintings reflect the country he was born in, being an Arrernte man from the MacDonnell Ranges in Central Australia. His talent was more than simple technical mastery, or imitation of what he saw around him. He refused to paint Australia as the Europeans saw it; so he painted it as Aboriginals experienced it.

He brought the essence of the bush to life with fluidity and vibrancy. As though you could reach out and be transported to that very place he painted. He was able to combine European materials and ideas, with Aboriginal intuition and feeling, something which many have tried to copy, but lack the same ‘breath’. Many of his paintings have hidden spirits in them, much like Norwegian paintings have trolls and natural beings embodying the landscape.

Spirits in the landscape

Spirits in the landscape

Namatjira grew up on the Hermannsburg mission about 180 km west of Alice Springs. For the local people the mission was a refuge, one of the only places which respected and preserved their language, culture, traditions, beliefs and way of life.



  1. Visitor signs in the collection

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