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Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia Ocula Report Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia 18 May 2019 : Fawz Kabra for Ocula

Bridging almost a century of Brazilian art, Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia at Blum & Poe in New York (30 April–22 June 2019), hosted in collaboration with Mendes Wood DM, offers a rereading of Brazilian Modernism through the works of artists practising at different times, from the 20th century through to the...

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Reiko Tomii Ocula Conversation Reiko Tomii

In 1969, Horikawa Michio, schoolteacher and member of the artist collective GUN (Group Ultra Niigata), filled out the customs paperwork to mail a one-kilogram river stone from Niigata, the proverbial 'backside of Japan', to President Nixon. In return, Horikawa received a thank you note for this 'most unusual Christmas gift'—a muted anti-war...

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Yun Hyong-keun in Venice: The Artist Behind the Paintings Ocula Report Yun Hyong-keun in Venice: The Artist Behind the Paintings 4 May 2019 : Sherry Paik for Ocula

'He was not a "political" kind of person. He just wanted to be honest and straight. But it was not easy in Korea to live like that,' writes curator Kim Inhye on artist Yun Hyong-keun. For much of his life, Yun lived in proximity to some of the most tumultuous moments in modern Korean history, from which he emerged as a pioneer of abstract...

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Vincent Namatjira

b. 1983, Australia

With humour and wit, Vincent Namatjira explores the complex issues of colonial history and its living consequences on Aboriginal Australians in his bold and dramatised portraits.

Born in Alice Springs, Namatjira was sent to live with foster families as a child when his mother passed away in a car accident. After finishing high school, he returned to Hermannsburg to join his extended family and began reconnecting with his Western Aranda heritage. Painting, which he picked up in 2011, became one way of exploring his family history, and his humorous portraits of historical figures garnered attention in 2014 when the Queensland Art Gallery purchased all of the works presented in a solo exhibition at Marshall Arts, Adelaide (now Galerie Zadra).

Painting with broad strokes in acrylic, Namatjira often exaggerates the physical features or expressions of his subjects to create portraits that appear to dilute the seriousness of history, distilling the power dynamics of the historical moment with his use of humour. Recurring characters include Captain James Cook, members of the British royal family, and politicians, many of whom appear in the series of paintings Namatjira submitted in Sydney Contemporary 2017 to show with THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein. Standing in groups of two or three, the historical and contemporary figures are rendered with oversized heads or slanted faces, such as the stern-looking Barack Obama and Donald Trump in Mr Obama and Mr Trump (2017). Namatjira also frequently inserts himself in his works; in Captain Cook with the Queen and Me (2017), the artist's broad smile and informal gesture—with arms thrown over the shoulders of the other two on his sides—contrast with the rather surprised faces and stiffly hunched backs of the Captain and the Queen. In an interview with Ocula in 2016, Namatjira explained that he is drawn to figures of power because of their seeming disconnection from the more remote parts of the world such as the Aboriginal community in which he lives. Yet, as leaders and decision makers, their impact has been and continues to be felt internationally. By distorting his subjects in the manner of a caricaturist, Namatjira lifts the figures of power from their zones of influence and strips them of dominance traditionally accorded to them.

Another pivotal figure who frequents Namatjira's paintings is his great-grandfather Albert Namatjira, the celebrated watercolour painter, who was the first Aboriginal person to be granted restricted Australian citizenship in 1957. Albert has been an inspiration for the artist since the onset of his career; in a 2018 interview with Ocula, he observed that his great-grandfather's contribution to their country made him determined to find his own path, 'and not follow anybody else's'. Namatjira has dedicated several works to the elder Namatjira, notably Rex Batterbee and Albert Namatjira (2018), which pictures the two significant Australian watercolourists and close friends side by side before a vast landscape that they painted. In 2018, Namatjira was a finalist for the prestigious Alice Art Prize for this painting. The series of paintings purchased by the Queensland Art Gallery in 2014 also included depictions of his great-grandfather.

Working from his studio Iwantja Arts at Indulkana in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, South Australia, Namatjira is equally devoted to addressing Australia's colonial history and its ongoing consequences as well as celebrating Aboriginal communities in his paintings. For the TarraWarra Biennial 2016: Endless Circulation, for example, he created a series of portraits of the seven prime ministers who had served during his lifetime and whose policies determined the lives of Aboriginal Australians. Between 11 November 2018 and 3 February 2019, Namatjira participated in the group exhibition Weapons for the Soldier at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, which attempted to shed light on the forgotten stories of Indigenous men who fought for their land. He presented a six-panel work, painted on army materials, each depicting an anonymous Aboriginal soldiers. Namatjira also honoured Aboriginal celebrities and leaders in the series 'Legends', included in his solo show Legends at THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein in Melbourne in the summer of 2018, which showed portraits of singers Archie Roach and Gordon Bennett, political activist Eddie Mabo, and footballer Nicky Winmar, among others.

Namatjira has exhibited internationally, including at the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2018-2019); Art Basel in Miami Beach (2018); Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia (2017); the 10th Mildura Palimpsest Biennale (2015); and the British Museum, London (2015). His works are also in the collections of the British Museum; Queensland Art Gallery; Flinders University Art Museum; and Artbank.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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Self Portrait (Walk of Fame) by Vincent Namatjira contemporary artwork Vincent NamatjiraSelf Portrait (Walk of Fame), 2019 Acrylic on linen
76 x 51 cm
This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein
Self Portrait (Hollywood Hills) by Vincent Namatjira contemporary artwork Vincent NamatjiraSelf Portrait (Hollywood Hills), 2019 Acrylic on linen
76 x 51 cm
This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein
Welcome to Indulkana by Vincent Namatjira contemporary artwork Vincent NamatjiraWelcome to Indulkana, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
91 x 304 cm
This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein
Putin by Vincent Namatjira contemporary artwork Vincent NamatjiraPutin, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
122 x 91 cm
This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein
Queen Elizabeth & Vincent (On Country) by Vincent Namatjira contemporary artwork Vincent NamatjiraQueen Elizabeth & Vincent (On Country), 2018 Acrylic on canvas
122 x 155 cm
This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein
Legends, Gordon Bennett by Vincent Namatjira contemporary artwork Vincent NamatjiraLegends, Gordon Bennett, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
152 x 122 cm
This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein
Legends, Archie Roach by Vincent Namatjira contemporary artwork Vincent NamatjiraLegends, Archie Roach, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
152 x 122 cm
This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein
Legends, Nicky Winmar by Vincent Namatjira contemporary artwork Vincent NamatjiraLegends, Nicky Winmar, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
152 x 122 cm
This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein

Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Vincent Namatjira, Vincent goes to Hollywood at This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne
Upcoming
29 June–27 July 2019 Vincent Namatjira Vincent goes to Hollywood This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Vincent Namatjira, Legends at This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne
Closed
27 July–18 August 2018 Vincent Namatjira Legends This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Vincent Namatjira, New Works at This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne
Closed
5–30 July 2016 Vincent Namatjira New Works This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Vincent Namatjira Ocula Conversation Vincent Namatjira Artist

Vincent Namatjira relishes painting famous people who are humorously redeployed across vivid canvases and depicted in his community in remote Indulkana in South Australia. His powerful paintings are part portraiture and part caricature, in which politicians are placed side by side in wryly preposterous juxtapositions, such as Donald Trump and Kim...

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Melbourne Art Shows to See: The Lowdown Ocula Report Melbourne Art Shows to See: The Lowdown 27 Jul 2018 : Carol Que for Ocula

Melbourne Art Week returns to much fanfare this year, taking place between 30 July and 5 August 2018 with the biennial Melbourne Art Fair holding centre stage after its hiatus in 2016 (2–5 August 2018). Situated across two venues within the Southbank Arts Precinct and presenting 40 new and established galleries from Australia, New Zealand and...

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Vincent Namatjira at THIS IS NO FANTASY + Dianne Tanzer Gallery, Melbourne Ocula Insight Vincent Namatjira at THIS IS NO FANTASY + Dianne Tanzer Gallery, Melbourne By Laura Thomson

Bold, painterly and conceptually rich, Vincent Namatjira's work has gained significant recognition in Australia and abroad. In 2015, his work was curated into the 10th Mildura Palimpsest Biennale, and Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia, where he exhibited a series of...

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In Related Press

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Art Basel's buzziest exhibit makes fun of global despots Related Press Art Basel's buzziest exhibit makes fun of global despots Quartzy : 9 December 2018

It came as a serious shock to me when I rounded a corner at Art Basel Miami Beach, the world's largest contemporary art fair, and came face-to-face with Donald J. Trump.

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Photos | Weapons for the Soldier exhibition opening at Hazelhurst Related Press Photos | Weapons for the Soldier exhibition opening at Hazelhurst The Leader : 15 November 2018

On New Year's Eve 1915, 31-year-old William Joseph Punch from North Queensland joined up and went to war.Sent to northern France he was wounded twice, finally ending up in a military hospital in Britain. There on August 29, 1917, he died from pneumonia.

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'Youngfellas': artists come to grips with legacy of Indigenous servicemen Related Press 'Youngfellas': artists come to grips with legacy of Indigenous servicemen The Guardian : 9 November 2018

Vincent Namatjira and Kamurin Young are two of the "youngfellas" who belong to one of the most remote artistic collectives on earth, spanning a vast proportion of central Australia, larger than many European countries.

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Review: Speed north to Darwin to see the latest, most dynamic Indigenous art Related Press Review: Speed north to Darwin to see the latest, most dynamic Indigenous art The Sydney Morning Herald : 24 August 2018

A remarkable thing happened at this year's 35th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT): the stand-out work actually won the major prize. The annual circus of the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman may have given me a jaundiced view of art prizes, but it was pleasing...

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