Another highlight of this wonderful festival was the performance by Australia's Big hART theatre company of Namatjira, a powerful and ultimately heartbreaking account of the life of Albert Namatjira
, Australia's first celebrated Aboriginal indigenous artist.
As far as Australian artists go I am an admirer of Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale and Albert Namatjira
The lives, works and themes of three late contemporary artists are then presented with an emphasis on the effects of assimilation policy on them: Albert Namatjira
, Les Griggs, and Lin Onus.
In what field did Albert Namatjira
achieve success and fame?
The timing is just right--as the writers point out early in the introduction, the media's influence on popular perception was beginning to burgeon in the 1950s and had the capacity to shape personalities, as well as the perception of them, in a way that, in some cases, for example Albert Namatjira
, had disastrous consequences.
So far this is a painfully short list that recognises only Rover Thomas, Lin Onus and Emily Kngwarreye, leaving Albert Namatjira
with the long list of Australian artists.
In a radio interview in 1992 William described Albert Namatjira
as possessing a unique ability to convey the feeling of the outback without embellishment or overstatement.
became the first Australian Aboriginal to be given Australian citizenship in 1957, while Aborigines were not given the right to vote in Commonwealth elections until 1962.
He sees the paintings of Albert Namatjira
and the other Western Aranda watercolourists which began in the mid-1930s as `exhibited partly as a sign of what Aborigines were capable of achieving once "civilized", and in this respect could be seen as much as a denial of Aboriginal art as a recognition of it' (p 22).