Albert Namatjira (28 July 1902 – 8 August 1959), born Elea Namatjira, was an
artist. He is one of Australia's most well-known
painters. He is best known for his
watercolour paintings of the Australian
landscape. His works were not in the traditional style of
Aboriginal art. But they became important to forming the style of modern indigenous art in Australia.
Namatjira was an
Arrernte man from the western
MacDonnell Ranges area. He was born at
Alice Springs. He was born as Elea, but once
baptised, his parents changed his name to Albert. He had a
western-style upbringing on the mission. When he turned 13, though, he returned to
the bush for his
initiation. He was made a member of the Arrernte community and was introduced to his traditional heritage. Namatjira said this is how he came to understand the
kinship with his land that is seen in his works. He eventually become an
elder of the Arrernte community.
exhibition was held in
Melbourne in 1938. Exhibitions after this in
Adelaide sold out. His art became widely recognised around Australia. A portrait painting of him by
William Dargie won the
Archibald Prize in 1956.