Namatjira The Painter


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1974, 20 Minutes. Originally made in 1947, this film was re-edited in 1974 to remove sacred material.

A look at the life and work of Aboriginal watercolour artist, Albert Namatjira.

Australian contemporary art has no more interesting tale to tell than that of Aboriginal watercolour artist, Albert Namatjira. Namatjira was 30 years old before his hand first held a paintbrush. In about 1934 Rex Battarbee, a well-known Australian artist, visited Hermannsburg mission near Alice Springs. He took with him into the field as cook and general assistant the Aranda tribesman, Namatjira.

This film tells the story of Namatjira's preoccupation with Battarbee's work, how he was determined to learn to paint and how Battarbee, realising the talent of his friend and assistant, taught him the elements of his craft.

Today, Namatjira's watercolours sell for high prices. Despite controversy, the power of Namatjira's rendering of his beloved ancestral land is not denied. Throughout his life and despite his success, he remained in the bush with his people and his paints. In this film, we see Albert Namatjira at work in the glowing country that he knows so well.

© 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.


Albert’s Story by Vincent Namatjira



Executive Producer: Charles P Mountford

Producer: Ralph Foster

Assistant Director: Lee Robinson

Featured People: Albert Namatjira

Year: 1974 (originally 1947)

Running Time: 20 Minutes

Classification: G

Curriculum Links: Visual Art; Art History; Indigenous Studies; relevant to English Stage 6 Advanced, Module C: Representation and Text; SOSE; Cultural Studies.


Mr Patterns

The art of Albert Namatjira 1902–1959

Storymakers: Percy Trezise and Dick Roughsey

Tumanu’s People



SKU 002602200
Brand Film Australia

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