Life On The Job



Indigenous Famous Person's Story

Albert Namatjira - Australian Artist (28 July 1902 - 8 August 1959)

Albert Namatjira
Portrait of Albert Namatjira
(Source: National Library of Australia)

Introduction:

Albert Namatjira was a Western Arrernte man - from the Western MacDonnell Ranges.

He is one of Australia's best-known artists, whose landscape paintings are iconic images synonymous with the Australian outback.

Albert Namatjira

Albert Namatjira outside Government House in Sydney during the 1950s.
You are free to use this image in any way and for any purpose. Attribution: National Library of Australia, “Albert Namatjira” http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Namatjira_govt_house_sydney.jpg
June 2011 Available under a Public Domain licence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain

Education:

Albert attended the Hermannsburg mission school. At 13 he spent six months in the bush and underwent initiation.

 
Employment:

Albert Namatjira began painting in the mid-1930s.

He learnt the techniques of water colour painting from the artist Rex Batterby after Batterby held a display at the Hermansburg in 1934.

He staged his first exhibition in 1938 and most of his works were bought by private citizens.


Experiences:

"In his boyhood Albert sketched 'scenes and incidents around him . . . the cattle yard, the stockmen with their horses, and the hunters after game'. He later made artefacts such as boomerangs and woomeras. Encouraged by the mission authorities, he began to produce mulga-wood plaques with poker-worked designs. Meanwhile, he worked as a blacksmith, carpenter, stockman and cameleer—at the mission for rations and on neighbouring stations for wages. The spectacular scenery of Central Australia, then entering the national consciousness as a symbol of Australian identity, attracted artists to Hermannsburg, among them Rex Battarbee and John Gardner. During their second visit in 1934 they held an exhibition for an Aboriginal audience. The Arrernte were familiar with illustrations of biblical scenes, but none had seen landscapes depicting their own surroundings."
(Source:
Australian Dictionary of Biography: Albert Namatjira (1902 - 1959)

Arreyonga Paddock, James Range

“Arreyonga Paddock, James Range” by Albert Namatjira

Presented to the Cootamundra Aboriginal Girls Home in June 1957 by the Artist
(Source: Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of NSW )
.


Opportunities & Training:

"Motivated by a deep attachment to his country and the possibility of a vocation that offered financial return, Namatjira expressed an interest in learning to paint. In 1936 he accompanied Battarbee as a cameleer on two month-long excursions in and around the Macdonnell Ranges. Battarbee was impressed by his evident talent. In the following year Pastor Friedrich Albrecht, the superintendent of Hermannsburg, displayed ten of Namatjira's watercolours at a Lutheran conference held at Nuriootpa, South Australia. Battarbee included another three of his water-colours in an exhibition with the Royal South Australian Society of Arts, Adelaide. In 1938 the two men went on an expedition, during which Battarbee taught him photography. Later that year Namatjira held his first solo exhibition at the Fine Art Society Gallery, Melbourne. With Battarbee's assistance as teacher, dealer and mentor, a school of artists developed around Namatjira."
(Source:
Australian Dictionary of Biography: Albert Namatjira (1902 - 1959)

 

Links:

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Australian Dictionary of Biography: Albert Namatjira (1902 - 1959)

Australian Dictionary of Biography



bullet.gif (981 bytes)National Museum Australia

National Museum Australia

This is an extensive website with lots of information about Albert Namatjira
bullet.gif (981 bytes)Aboriginal Art News

Aboriginal Art News

bullet.gif (981 bytes)National Art Gallery of Australia: Seeing the Centre

NGA
bullet.gif (981 bytes)Artists' Footsteps: Albert Namatjira

Artists' Footsteps
bullet.gif (981 bytes)Wikipedia: Albert Namatjira

Wikipedia: Albert Namatjira
bullet.gif (981 bytes)National Archives of Australia - Albert Namatjira

National Archives of Australia
bullet.gif (981 bytes)National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery
bullet.gif (981 bytes)Big hART - Namatjira Project

Big hART - Namatjira Project


bullet.gif (981 bytes)ABC News: 16 May 2016

News 16052016
bullet.gif (981 bytes)Koori History: The Extraordinary Life of Albert Namatjira

Koori History: the extraordinary life of Albert Namatjira

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Sydney Morning Herald 15 May 2016

SMH 15052016
bullet.gif (981 bytes)National Film & Sound Archive

NFSA



bullet.gif (981 bytes)COOEE ART

Cooee Art

bullet.gif (981 bytes)YouTube: Portrait Story: Albert Namatjira
https://youtu.be/pmGNeaagw10

 

 

bullet.gif (981 bytes)YouTube: Albert Namatjira copyright - The Feed - SBS
https://youtu.be/3z__8qcWvNY

 

bullet.gif (981 bytes)YouTube: Namatjira's story
https://youtu.be/XxTp58aAn2E

 

bullet.gif (981 bytes)YouTube: Albert Namatjira
https://youtu.be/q238zWlmxMA

 

 

 

 

 

Did You Know?

Institutions and the art establishment tended to shun him.

He was in his 50s when the Commonwealth Government proclaimed all but a few of the 16,000 or so Aborigines in the Northern Territory to be wards of the state.

A massive public campaign saved Namatjira from being included.

That meant he became a citizen, free of the regulations which put his countrymen under the guardianship of the director of welfare.

What happened when Namatjira became a citizen was that he lost his right to be an Aboriginal person.


Australia Post created a set of stamps to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Albert Namatjira in 2002


Stamp of Albert Namatjira



 Activities

 

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Online: Use the Namatjira app to create some similar landscapes

PrimaryPrimary

ICT Capability Australian Curriculum General Capability: ICT Capability 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culturesAustralian Curriculum: Cross Curriculum Priorities: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

1. Download the following app [after getting permission from Parents or Guardians]

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Big hART - Watercolours of Namatjira app

Watercolours of Namatjira

Cost: $2.99
Developer: Big hART

Screenshots

2. Use the app to create similar landscapes to Albert Namatjira

3. In 2017, a Google Doodle of Albert Namatjira's 115th Birthday was created:

Google Doodle

You might like to create another beautiful Google Doodle to celebrate Albert and his paintings.

 

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Online: Create a new verse to the song "Native Born"

MiddleMiddle & High SchoolSecondary

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culturesAustralian Curriculum: Cross Curriculum Priorities: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

1. Watch the following YouTube Video of "Native Born" by Archie Roach

Archie on Native Born, a song inspired by the paintings of Albert Namatjira
https://youtu.be/3mEFPRUoeBo

 

2. Look at the words of "Native Born":

"Albert Namatjra painted
Not so much the thinghs he saw
But what he felt inside
And how he loved the Flinders Range
The only thing he ever wanted
The reason that he painte for
Was that everybody share the dream
His land would never change
But change it did and through the years
They introduced some foreign plants
Familary things are strange
While strangers play upon the lawn
And mother land has shed her tears
For lives that never stood a chance
And Albert Namatjra cried, as we all cry
The Native Born
So bow your head old Ecaulypt and Wattle Tree
Australia's Bush losing it's identity
While the cities and the parks that they have planned
Look out of place because the spirit's in the land
Look out of place because the spirit's in the land

Do you remember Joseph Banks
Who stood upon this sacred hearth
And what he felt inside when he looked around and saw
the land to whom we give our thanks
Our mother land who's given birth
To trees and plants and animals he'd never seen before?

So bow your head old Eucalyptus and Wattle Tree
Australia's Bush losing it's identity
While the cities and the parks that they have planned
Look out of place because the spirit's in the land

But no one knows or no one hears
The way we used to ding and dance
And how the Gum Tree stood and stretched
To greet the golden morn
and mother land still sheds her tears
For lives that vever stood a chance
And Albert Namatjra cried as we all cry
The Native Born
We cry the Native Born"
(Source: Marco Giunco)

3. Now that you have listen and seen Archie Roach's song about Albert Namatjira, it is now your turn to create an extra verse about Albert and his life!


YouTube:
How to Write Great Lyrics
https://youtu.be/eH0Fyn6QGvA

 

4. Share your verse with a partner and get them to give you some feedback.

5. Share with the whole class.

 

 

 

 

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