Stand strong for who you are
Vincent Namatjira is the first Aboriginal artist to win the Archibald prize in its 99-year history. This brilliant work speaks to racism in a time of global unrest. Purposefully using the colours of the Aboriginal flag as a symbol of resilience, strength and defiance, Namatjira seeks to highlight his pride in being Aboriginal, while showing great respect to Adam Goodes, with whom he has many shared experiences. Throughout his playing career the AFL footballer Adam Goodes suffered racial taunts and abuse, with the extent of this being exposed in the 2019 documentaries The Final Quarter and The Australian Dream. Knowing more of Goodes’ personal experiences through The Final Quarter, Namatjira was inspired to create this work.
‘We share some similar stories and experiences – of disconnection from culture, language and Country, and the constant pressures of being an Aboriginal man in this country. We’ve also both got young daughters and don’t want them to have to go through those same experiences.
‘When I was younger and growing up in the foster system in Perth, Indigenous footballers were like heroes to me. Goodesy is much more than a great footballer though, he took a strong stand against racism and said, “enough is enough”. I stand strong with you too, brother.’ Vincent Namatjira 2020.
Art centre documentation also states:
‘Vincent originally planned a straightforward composition for the portrait but changed his mind while talking to Adam when he was sketching him. Their shared experiences created a bond of pride and strength, so he wanted both artist and sitter in the painting, standing strong and proud together. Vincent said that’s how ‘Goodesy’ shook my hand when we first met – his way of saying ‘we might be from different places, but we’re brothers’.
Sitter: Adam Goodes - former professional Australian rules footballer
acrylic on linen
152.0 x 198.0 x 3.0 cm
Mollie Gowing Acquisition fund for Contemporary Aboriginal art 2020
Not on display
© Vincent Namatjira
Shown in 1 exhibition
Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes (2020), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Sep 2020–10 Jan 2021