An extraordinary firsthand account of the international battle to reclaim the artwork and heritage of one of Australia’s most important Indigenous figures: Albert Namatjira.
Albert Namatjira was one of those rare artists who actually changed the course of history. The founder of the Indigenous art movement, he became an international icon and was the first Indigenous person to be granted Australian citizenship. But Namatjira was never fully accepted by white Australia, and after being wrongfully imprisoned in 1959, he soon died, despondent and broken. Then, in 1983, the Australian Government sold the rights to his work to an art dealer – despite the artist himself having left it all to his wife and children.
Now, almost 60 years after Namatjira’s death, his family are seeking to regain copyright. Working with the Namatjira family and art and social justice organisation Big hART, filmmaker Sera Davies takes us on a journey from the sun-blasted deserts of their Aranda homeland to the lavish opulence of Buckingham Palace, all while remembering and celebrating the legacy of the great artist.
A captivating story of Australian race relations lensed through the bitterly contested history of one of our most venerated figures, Namatjira Project the film grew out of Big hART’s award-winning theatre production about Namatjira’s life, staged with Belvoir Street Theatre. It is both a powerful, important addition to the canon of modern Indigenous culture, and a part of the ongoing campaign for justice for the Namatjira family.
Namatjira Project will have its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival. Details here.