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It's fourth time lucky for Vincent Namatjira, great-grandson of acclaimed artist Albert Namatjira, who has become the first Indigenous Australian to win the $100,000 Archibald Prize in 99-years.

Source : PortMac.News | Independent :

Source : PortMac.News | Independent | News Story:

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Archibald won by Vincent Namatjira with self portrait
It's fourth time lucky for Vincent Namatjira, great-grandson of acclaimed artist Albert Namatjira, who has become the first Indigenous Australian to win the $100,000 Archibald Prize in 99-years.

The Western Arrernte artist was an Archibald finalist for the fourth consecutive year in 2020 (having been the runner up in 2018), with a double-portrait featuring himself alongside former AFL player and 2014 Australian of the Year Adam Goodes, entitled Stand Strong for Who You Are.

Accepting the award via Zoom from the APY Lands, where he lives, Namatjira said: "What an honour it is to be the first Indigenous winner of the Archibald Prize. It only took 99 years!"

Namatjira won against a field of finalists that includes former Archibald Prize winners Louise Hearman, Nicholas Harding, Craig Ruddy, Marcus Wills, Wendy Sharpe and Guy Maestri.

The win comes off the back of an incredible 18 months for Namatjira, who won the $100,000 Ramsay Art Prize in 2019.

Namatjira first met Goodes in 2018, when he visited Indulkana, where the artist lives, to promote Indigenous literacy.

But he had been a fan of the footballer since childhood, writing in his artist statement:

"When I was younger and growing up in the foster system in Perth, Indigenous footballers were like heroes to me. Goodesy is much more than a great footballer though, he took a strong stand against racism and said, 'enough is enough'. I stand strong with you too, brother."

Announcing the award, David Gonski, President of the Art Gallery of NSW Board of Trustees — who choose the finalists and winner of Archibald Prize — read a statement from Goodes:

"I am thrilled that an Indigenous artist, Vincent Namatjira, has won the Archibald Prize for the first time. And I am so pleased that it shines a light on all Indigenous art. We have a 60,000 year history of art and culture in our people, and we share this knowledge and gift of culture with all Australia."

A record year for Indigenous Australian representation

Namatjira's win caps a record year for Indigenous Australian artists in the Archibald Prize, with a line-up including previous finalists Blak Douglas, Thea Anamara Perkins and Tiger Yaltangki.

It also follows the record set last week by Wongutha-Yamatji artist Meyne Wyatt, who in winning the Packing Room Prize became the first Indigenous artist to win any category of the Archibald Prize.

Wyatt was among 22 first-time Archibald finalists this year, alongside Indigenous artists Charlene Carrington, Kaylene Whiskey (who won the Sir John Sulman Prize in 2018) and Jennifer Scott.

Indigenous talent was also reflected on the walls, with 10 portraits of Indigenous Australians — a record — including rapper and writer Adam Briggs aka Briggs, Sydney elder Uncle Charles 'Chicka' Madden (painted by his granddaughter Thea Perkins), and author Bruce Pascoe.

Sydney artist Blak Douglas, aka Adam Hill, teenage Arrernte and Garrwa healer and activist Dujuan Hoosan (subject of the documentary In My Blood It Runs).

Douglas is of Dhungatti and Irish-Australian heritage, and a self-taught painter whose work is informed by training in graphic design, illustration and photography.

This is his fourth time as a finalist in the Archibald Prize, having first been a finalist in 2015.

In submitting his portrait of Hoosan, he wrote that it "attempted to marry Dujuan's divine youth with his inherited ancient wisdom."

The bands in the background of the painting represent the Seven Sisters, and the lines of text are quotes from Hoosan, who in 2019, aged 12, became the youngest person ever to address the United Nations' Human Rights Council, on the topic of youth detention in the Northern Territory.

'Institutions are changing'

In another sign of changing times, Sydney-based Townsville-born artist Tony Albert was this year appointed to the Art Gallery of NSW Board of Trustees — the first Indigenous Australian in the gallery's 140-year history.

Reflecting on his recent appointment, Albert told ABC reporter Michaela Boland: "It's significant in how institutions are changing to reflect the community they actually represent.

"And for me, being able to have a seat at that table is historic, it is important, and I hope we can continue [that trajectory]."

Albert, who was painted by Namatjira for the 2019 Archibald Prize, described the artist's win as an "historic and profound moment".

He noted that "We [Indigenous Australians] have had many sitters [in the history of the prize] ... History has told us that Aboriginal people are meant to be seen and not heard — and this is rewriting that history."


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