From the remote Australian desert to the opulence of Buckingham Palace – Namatjira Project is the iconic story of the Namatjira family, tracing their quest for justice.
Albert Namatjira was the first Aboriginal person to be made a citizen by the Australian government.
The founder of the Aboriginal art movement in Australia, his artworks gave many Australians their first glimpses into to the outback in heart of the country. He was widely celebrated, exhibited globally, and introduced to Queen Elizabeth.
However, Namatjira was caught between cultures – paraded as a great Australian, and at the same time treated with contempt. He was imprisoned and in 1959 he died a broken man. The public trustee of the Northern Territory took on the copyright to his works upon Namatjira's death.
In 1983 the government sold the copyright to his entire catalogue of artworks to an art dealer. His family fought many years for justice and to regain their grandfather’s copyright (which they did in 2017) as well as access to royalties generated as a result of the copyright to Albert's work. His original watercolours sell for up to $30,000 in private sales.
Namatjira's grandchildren also feature in the film, which tells the story of the artist's life in and around his hometown of Hermannsburg in central Australia.
This film tells one of Australia’s most potent stories – a prism through which to examine the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people the world over.
“Our Western Aranda communities today face many of the same difficulties Albert Namatjira did 50 years ago. We’re resilient, but our painting tradition – our livelihood – faces a precarious future. Albert Namatjira’s friendship with Rex Battarbee is an important story that needs to be shared. This documentary gives insight into their unique collaboration, and why friendships like this are important today... [It] will help us continue the work passed down to us by Albert, which is the economic sustainability of our community.” — Lenie Namatjira & the Namatjira Family, 2015
- Trevor Jamieson
- Release dates
- 5 August 2017 - World premiere, Melbourne International Film Festival
7 September 2017 - Australia, cinema release
- G - general
- Umbrella Entertainment
- Genevieve Lacey
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