Yavuz Gallery is pleased to present Desert Songs, Vincent Namatjira’s debut exhibition with the Gallery.
“I believe in the power of art, the power of the paintbrush. I know that art can change lives – it changed mine – and I hope that art can change the world too.
Painting is in my blood – my great-grandfather Albert Namatjira changed the face of art in Australia. I feel his influence when I paint, especially when I paint our Country.
I started painting portraits because I’m interested in people, and power, wealth and politics. For me, portraiture is a way of putting myself in someone else’s shoes as well as to share with the viewer what it might be like to be in my shoes. I use portraiture to look at my identity and my family history.
Let me take you on Country, where the past and the present meet, where cheeky humour is side-by-side with gut-wrenchingly hard stories.”
– Vincent Namatjira
Yavuz Gallery is proud to present Desert Songs, Vincent Namatjira OAM’s debut exhibition with the Gallery. Featuring thirteen new paintings, the exhibition tackles the rich themes and concepts of leadership, power and legacy.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to utilise cheeky humour side-by-side with gut wrenchingly hard stories.” said Namatjira. A show for these times, Desert Songs provides a platform for Namatjira to explore his own deeply personal histories through portraits of well-known figures that have shaped his life through art, music, and politics. Through these bold and unapologetically political paintings, he explores what it means to be Indigenous in Australia, or the world.
A subversive portraitist, Namatjira uses wit and heart to interrogate the complex colonial narratives implicit in Australia’s relationship with the Empire from a contemporary Aboriginal perspective. Born in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, and now based in Indulkana on Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, South Australia, Namatjira is an acute observer of national and international politics.
“I started painting portraits because I’m interested in people and power, wealth and politics. For me, portraiture is a way of putting myself in someone else’s shoes as well as to share with the viewer what it might be like to be in my shoes. I use portraiture to look at my identity and my family history,” shares Namatjira.
Desert Songs coincides with Namatjira’s forthcoming monograph published by Thames and Hudson and his major survey exhibition, Australia in colour, at the Art Gallery of South Australia, opening 20 October 2023 and the National Gallery of Australia in 2024.