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Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Gosse Bluff - Tnorala, NT



Lenie Namatjira


24 Dec 1951 - Oct 2017

Language group

Western Arrernte, Central Desert region


Lenie Namatjira continued the legacy of the renowned watercolourist, Albert Namatjira. Lenie is the daughter of Oscar Namatjira, Albert’s son, and refined the techniques passed down to her to produce delicate watercolours of her beloved country west of Ntaria (Hermannsburg).

Lenie Namatjira grew up at Hermannsburg and was taught to paint by her father, Oscar Namatjira. Oscar had learnt to paint from his father, spending a great deal of time with him while he was working. Indeed for a period of about 12 months Oscar was Albert’s ‘driver’, taking Namatjira and his supplies to different painting locations and acquiring the skills to become an accomplished artist in his own right.

Namatjira’s earlier works are distinguished by the use of subtle variations of colour to create perspective and shadow, as well as soft fields of colour that gently merge to add depth and distance, resulting in calm, composed scenes that reflect the nostalgia of memory. ‘Gosse Bluff, Tnorala, NT’ 2011 marks a shift in her practice as she eliminates the fine detail and subtle, realistic use of colour to create depth and definition. This results in a graphic quality that may be the influence of Ivy Pareroultja with whom Namatjira works closely.

Tnorala is of great significance to Western Arrernte people and is a registered sacred site. It was formed when a group of women danced across the sky as the Milky Way. While dancing a mother put her baby to the side in a carrier, which fell over the edge of the dancing ground, falling to earth and forming the circular stone of Tnorala. In 1872 the explorer Ernest Giles named the crater Gosse’s Range, after H. Gosse, a fellow of the Royal Society.


Place where the work was made

Gosses Bluff Northern Territory Australia

Cultural origin

Western Arrernte



Media category


Materials used

watercolour on white wove paper on board


26.0 x 35.9 cm image (irreg.); 28.0 x 38.0 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed l.r.corner recto, black watercolour "LENIE NAMATJIRA". Not dated.


Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors Group 2012


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Lenie Namatjira

Works in the collection



Where the work was made
Gosses Bluff

Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history