Albert Namatjira’s Ghost Gums
Lenie Namatjira and Kevin Namatjira – grandchildren of renowned Central Australian indigenous artist Albert Namatjira – have been invited to attend a private audience with Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace, London, England ahead of tonight’s international premiere of the play Namatjira at London’s Southbank Centre.
Albert Namatjira (born Elea Namatjira 1902 dec.1959) was a renowned watercolour artist and Aboriginal man, hailing from Western Aranda country in the Central Australian desert. He grew up in Ntaria/Hermannsburg, Northern Territory, Australia, and became the first prominent indigenous artist and a pioneer of contemporary indigenous art. He was also the first indigenous Australian to be granted citizenship in 1957.
Today, two of Albert Namatjira’s grandchildren Lenie and Kevin Namatjira – both painters in the watercolour tradition will meet with Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace, London.
During her 1954 coronation tour of Australia, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth met Albert Namatjira in Canberra, Australia. Albert presented Her Majesty with a painting which is now part of a group of Namatjira paintings in the Royal Family’s collection.
Today’s meeting is momentous and symbolic, reaffirming the international significance of Albert Namatjira and the Central Australian desert watercolour tradition.
The Duke of Edinburgh owns paintings by Albert Namatjira and his son Oscar Namatjira which were on display during the meeting in London today. Oscar Namatjira is Albert’s son and Lenie Namatjira’s father.
Not only are Lenie and Kevin celebrated artists, but they are now stars of the stage too. In London with their Living Watercolours exhibition – presented by Palya Art – they will also appear in the Big hART stage production Namatjira which has its international premiere tonight at Southbank Centre. The exhibition and play sit alongside the Royal Academy of Arts ‘Australia’ exhibition, which features two of Albert Namatjira’s paintings.
Lenie Namatjira said “I am happy to see Her Majesty The Queen, I have come a long way, all the way from Australia to meet her and represent my family and our community”.
Kevin Namatjira added “I’m a little bit nervous, but I am proud. I’m going to give Her Majesty a painting, like my grandfather did”
Lenie and Kevin Namatjira will also presented Her Majesty The Queen with a postcard from school students at Ntaria (Hermannsburg) School, where they have been delivering workshops to nurture the next generation of painters to carry forward this great tradition.
Namatjira stage production Southbank Centre http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/big-hart-78632
Living Watercolours Exhibition Southbank Centre http://palya.com.au/living-watercolours/
Australia Exhibition Royal Academy of the Arts http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibitions/australia/
Namatjira project http://namatjira.bighart.org/
Big hART http://bighart.org/
Big hART http://bighart.org/