Watercolour paintings from five generations of Western Aranda artists are on display at Parliament House in Canberra from today to raise awareness of the legacy of Albert Namatjira and the importance of arts centres to remote communities.
Arts and social change company Big hART has been working with Western Aranda people from Central Australia to celebrate Albert Namatjira’s life and legacy.
With Ngurrutjuta Many Hands Art Centre, Big hART has been working with the youngest generation of Namatjira artists to continue the watercolour tradition, including teaching young people to create animations based on the watercolours.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, launched the exhibition and announced preparations for a new Trust to support the financial stability of the art centre.
“Land, culture and heritage are the greatest economic assets available to many remote Aboriginal communities,” Minister Scullion said.
“For five years, Big hART has worked with Western Aranda artists to raise awareness of the legacy of Albert Namatjira and to continue the art movement as a source of economic activity and livelihood for the community.
“They are now developing a Trust to secure the future of this extraordinary movement for the fifth, and future, generations of Aranda artists.
“The digital literacy imparted by Big hART gives Indigenous students from remote Australia the skills to tell their stories using a contemporary medium.
“Within the learning environment of an art centre like Many Hands, children and other community members are coming together to create works that help drive the local economy.
“Projects and art centres like this are a vital part of life in remote communities and central to addressing our highest priorities of getting children to school, people into jobs and making communities safer.”
Namatjira to Now–Five generations of watercolours from the Central Desert is showing in the Presiding Officers’ Exhibition Area in Parliament House, Canberra, from today.
Big hART is working with the Namatjira family to establish the Namatjira Legacy Trust to provide an independent source of revenue for the Hermannsburg School of Artists.
The family is today calling on Australians to donate to the Trust.
Download media release:
2014-11-26 Scullion MR – Namatjira Exhibition.pdf