Sydney Morning Herald features Vincent Namatjira’s exhibitions

28 Oct 2023

John McDonald, art critic for The Sydney Morning Herald, reviews Tarnanthi 2023 including Vincent Namatjira’s major survey exhibition, Vincent Namatjira: Australia in colour held at the Art Gallery of Australia, Adelaide.

Tarnanthi is a platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across the country to share important stories through artistic excellence, illuminating the diversity and depth of art and culture in communities nationwide. It encourages new beginnings by providing artists with opportunities to create significant new work and to extend their practice.

McDonald describes Namatjira as “one of those charmed individuals who, if they didn’t exist, would need to be invented.” The artist creates portrait paintings by integrating famous and influential figures into his works that “aims to cut the might down to human size”.

“Namatjira’s most conspicuous quality is chutzpah,” says McDonald, commending Namatjira’s work as genuinely humorous, even to his most vehement detractors, due to his relentless and audacious satire reflected in his practice. He continues, “In a world where the defeat of a referendum is the very least of humanity’s problems, a sense of humor goes a long way.”

Image: Royal self-portrait with dingo, 2023, acrylic on linen, 122 x 152 cm