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Highly commended

Vincent Namatjira Studio self-portrait

synthetic polymer paint on linen canvas

152 x 198 cm

Vincent Namatjira is a Western Aranda man from Ntaria (Hermannsburg). Born in Alice Springs in 1983, he lives in the community of Indulkana in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) region, South Australia, and works at Iwantja Arts. He was also a finalist in last year’s Archibald Prize.

‘This is me in the studio, sitting and thinking after a hard day’s painting. In the background is the canvas I’m working on – so it’s really a painting within a painting. Painting is an ongoing battle; it’s me and the canvas, the paint and the brush. You never stop learning,’ he says.

‘I work in a busy art centre, and there’s always different music playing – country music, gospel, inma (cultural songs in language). It must have been rock ’n’ roll on this day because I’ve put on the Kiss t-shirt and Chuck Berry is playing his guitar back there on the canvas.

‘Behind the wheel of the green truck is my grandfather, Albert Namatjira. Painting is in my blood, it’s a part of our family. I admire the way that Albert made his own path with watercolour landscapes of his country. I’m finding my own way now with painting, and I want to keep fighting that battle in the studio every day.’

This portrait, which was highly commended in the Archibald Prize 2018, is now in the collection of the Art Gallery of NSW.

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