Albert Namatjira Gallery
Alfred Cook, "Portrait of Albert Namatjira" c. 1940, oil on board, 45.0 x 34.0 cm. Ngurratjuta Pmara Ntjarra Aboriginal Corporation Collection.
The Albert Namatjira Gallery is a feature gallery within the Araluen Arts Centre and is dedicated to showcasing Aboriginal art from Central Australia. This gallery offers the viewer a unique insight into the diversity, vitality, evolution and innovation of Aboriginal art from this region. The gallery draws on a rich body of work from not only the Araluen Art Collection but also a number of other important art collections permanently housed at the Araluen Arts Centre. These include the Rex Battarbee Collection owned by Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, the Ngurratjuta Pmara Ntjarra Aboriginal Corporation Collection, Papunya School Collection, the Warlukurlangu Collection and the Keringke Arts Collection.
The gallery is named in honour of the highly regarded Aboriginal watercolourist, Albert Namatjira who began painting in the mid 1930s. Namatjira was the first Aboriginal artist from Central Australia to be become recognised nationally and internationally and still today his works are revered for the way they depict country in Central Australia. Namatjira had a particular way of capturing the light, colour, beauty and perhaps essence of this country and it was through his paintings that many people had their first exposure to Aboriginal art from Central Australia depicting a country they had never seen. Namatjira’s watercolours feature in the gallery along with works by his contemporaries and the generations of watercolourists who have continued Namatjira’s tradition.
Important Papunya boards from the early 1970s also feature in the Albert Namatjira Gallery. These artworks heralded the beginning of the Western Desert painting movement and highlight the first major developments in contemporary Aboriginal art. This period unleashed an art movement that still today is one of the most important and exciting this country has seen and has helped to shape the way we view contemporary Aboriginal art.
Other works exhibited in the gallery highlight the developments in Aboriginal art in more recent years including ceramics by the Hermannsburg Potters as well as contemporary acrylic paintings from a number of Central Australian Aboriginal communities. These works show the continuing energy and vibrancy of this art movement, supported by Aboriginal owned art centres and many of these works have been acquired from the annual Desert Mob exhibition staged at Araluen Arts Centre since 1991.
The Albert Namatjira Gallery provides visitors with the unique opportunity to view art from some of the most important Aboriginal art movements and by some of our most recognised contemporary Aboriginal artists in the region from which it is created. The works exhibited offer an opportunity to appreciate the diversity and ability of Aboriginal artists from this region and also an insight into the intimate knowledge held by these artists of the country, its stories and ceremonies that are integral to their lives.
Harry Tjutjuna, Wati Ngintaka, Wati Nyiru, Wanka and Kungka Tjuta, 2009, acrylic on linen, 202 x 264 cm
Araluen Art Collection. Purchased from Desert Mob 2009