Esquire Australia: Vincent Namatjira on humour, visiting the King and why fame is the aim

25 Oct 2023

We don’t need anymore heroic portraits of royals and colonial figures,” writes Vincent Namatjira in the pages of his eponymous monograph. “That mob were born into wealth, power and privilege, so I feel like it’s fair enough to make fun of their stuffy uniforms and their outdated traditions… even their teeth.”

Can Yavuz, the founder and director of Yavuz Gallery, says the recognition is a testament to Namatjira’s “enduring engagement with some of the most significant issues of our time”.

“Vincent is not only one of Australia’s most important painters, but also a respected storyteller and a force for truth,” says the gallerist. Speaking to Esquire in the weeks leading up to the Voice to Parliament referendum, Yavuz points out that through “addressing sovereignty and recognition, his works are particularly galvanising as the nation prepares to decide on enshrining a Voice to Parliament.”

Esquire spotlights Namatjira’s solo exhibition Desert Songs at Yavuz Sydney, as well as his comprehensive survey exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide as part of Tarnanthi 2023, which opened on 20 October. Additionally, the feature delves deeper into how the artist draws inspiration from the legacy of his great-grandfather, Albert Namatjira, a renowned Australian landscape watercolorist.

Image: The Indulkana Tigers, 2014, acrylic on linen, 101 x 152cm