Albert Namatjira’s Chasms

One of the residents of the Hermannsburg mission in central Australia was Albert Namatjira. He showed a keen interest in Rex Battarbee’s watercolours. Rex taught him all he knew, including how to sign his name in the white man’s way, and the Namatjira show began.

When I look back at my photos of central Australia I think of Namatjira’s art.

| Kata Tjuta, Central Australia, 2006 |

To me Namatjira exhibits a most powerful depiction of land and of place. Namatjira repeatedly painted perpendicular walls of gorges at all times of the day in all sorts of light and from all points of view.

These images come from the catalogue for the 2009 Namatjira National Gallery of Australia exhibition, Seeing the Centre, The art of Albert Namatjira 1902-1959 written by Alison French.

The chasms are right up front and accentuate the equal emphasis he gives to all parts of the painting.

| Albert Namatjira, Redbank Gorge, MacDonnell Ranges, Central Australia c 1936-37 |

| Albert Namatjira, Talipate, Western MacDonnell c 1945-53

It’s kind of hard not to think of the other definition of chasm when contemplating Albert’s work.

Julia Ritson

One comment

  1. One of my goals in life is to travel to and around Australia.
    But I take solace in the fact that even if this never comes to pass, these landscapes remind me of the ones I love so much in Southern Utah, in around Zion National Park.

    Beautiful pictures–thanks for posting them.

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