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Vincent Namatjira in Sydney: Desert songs of leadership, power and legacy

Yavuz Gallery foregrounds a cultural conversation with the unveiling of ‘Desert Songs’, an exhibition by leading Indigenous artist Vincent Namatjira OAM exploings a vibrant narrative of personal histories through a series of bold and unapologetically political paintings.

Vincent Namatjira in Sydney: Desert songs of leadership, power and legacy

Founded in Singapore (2010) and Sydney (2019), Yavuz Gallery aims to open a dialogue of intercultural relations through contemporary art. Since its establishment, it has grown to achieve status as one of the leading contemporary galleries in the Asia-Pacific region and represents a group of established and emerging artists from across the globe.

Amongst the bustling cultural conversations which inspire contemporary art, Yavuz Gallery stands poised to offer a fresh perspective with the unveiling of ‘Desert Songs’. This major debut exhibition, which will run from the 5th to the 28th of October in Sydney’s Surry Hills, celebrates the work of leading Western Aranda artist Vincent Namatjira OAM.

“Desert Songs” is an artistic odyssey that delves into intricate themes of leadership, power and legacy. With thirteen new paintings, Vincent Namatjira OAM paints a vivid narrative of his own personal journey intertwined with the lives of influential figures who have shaped his background through art, music and politics.

His unapologetically political works contemplate what it really means to be Indigenous, both in Australia and in a global context. Namatjira offers a perspective that examines Australia’s complex colonial history through the lens of contemporary Aboriginal expression.

Vincent Namatjira OAM, born in Alice Springs and now based in Indulkana on Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, South Australia, is a subversive portraitist who uses wit and heart to observe national and international politics with grace. A celebrated figure in the art world, Namatjira was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2020 and made history as the first Indigenous Australian artist to win the Archibald Prize in the same year.

Related: Keinton Butler, Sydney Design Week creative dirtector

He continues to shape Australia’s artistic landscape, with his unique children’s picture book painting a rich portrait of his great-grandfather, Albert Namatjira – one of Australia’s most iconic artists himself. His upcoming book, Vincent Namatjira, is set for release on October 31 and will feature insightful essays by prominent art figures as well as Vincent’s distinctive voice echoing through his work to offer an immersive glimpse into his unique perspective and creative evolution.

Vincent Namatjira’s ‘Desert Songs’ at Yavuz Gallery is more than an exhibition; it’s a testament to the power of art in confronting complex historical narratives and fostering important dialogues in our evolving social world.

His work is a reflection of identity, history, and the enduring spirit of Indigenous Australia – and it invites us all to engage with these themes from the heart. Learn more.

Yavuz Gallery

Courtesy of the artist, Iwantja Arts and Yavuz Gallery, Jesse Lizotte

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