2022 ABIA Longlisted- Albert Namatjira by Vincent Namatjira (Hardcover)
Award-winning artist Vincent Namatjira tells the life story of his great-grandfather, Albert Namatjira, one of Australia’s most iconic artists.
Vincent’s witty and moving paintings are accompanied by evocative text, which records the pivotal moments in Albert’s life. In telling his great-grandfather’s story, Vincent builds a compelling picture of the times and conditions in which Albert lived and worked, capturing his triumphs and tragedy against a backdrop of social change and historical injustices.
This poignant children’s book provides an important tool for discussion about Australia’s art history, and a launching pad for exploration of the key moments in Australia’s Aboriginal Rights movement.
Albert Namatjira is a unique children’s picture book of both artistic beauty and historical importance, and will appeal to children, art collectors and those looking for a special gift.
The artwork in this book is part of a body of work called ‘Albert’s Story’ that was acquired by QAGOMA – Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art. ‘In his picture book biography Albert Namatjira, Vincent Namatjira paints a stoic and quietly devastating portrait of his great-grandfather Albert, one of the most iconic figures in Australian painting…There is a wonderful tension in Vincent Namatjira’s paintings; his neutral and non-judgemental eye for his subjects lends itself beautifully to Albert’s story, bold marks constructing understated tableaus, belying a deep well of emotion.
As a picture book biography, it is startlingly unique to look at and, notably, it makes no attempt to emulate any part of Albert Namatjira’s aesthetic in the telling. On opposing pages, the text is sparse, its simplicity rendering the arc of Albert’s life with unsentimental clarity. This is a wonderful example of the picture book form’s unique gift for dramatic understatement, of its ability to cut to the lean truth of a matter.