Tag Archives: Great artist

War,War; rumour of a war

BEN QUILTY

Australian Artist, Ben Quilty explores the depth of death, particularly murder, and the brutal assault of hastening it’s arrival. He is on tour through the desolate heartland of emptiness, an intrepid explorer, however climbing Everest is not his goal, his road leads into the deepest darkest terrains of the human experience.

“I am interested in humans”

Quilty was engaged as a War Artist for Afghanistan. The experience brought him face to face with Australians that are endlessly jeopardising their own mortality and live within a violence that has been raging for 18 years. Many have lost their lives and limbs, whist Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has gorged trenches, within the soldiers minds.

The Gallery visitor that has just had a glass of wine over lunch is taken into a war torn Earth, of shores littered with abandoned life-jackets from a fleeing population, naked soldiers shivering with PTSD and picnic spots that robbed Aboriginals of their life, dignity and history.

IMG_7426

The crisis of war washes up on the Grecian shores, as refugees flee their homeland to find safety abroad. The refugees have left all of their belongings and donned  lifejackets to cross, freezing sea’s in the black of the night. The reality of the Syrian crisis has not infiltrated the ‘connected world’ and the lack of response, drew the artist in. He intends to make the public aware of the trauma these young children are experiencing, by publishing a book of artwork by young Syrian victims.

                                     “My work is about how to live in this world”

In his homeland, Quigley explores landscapes of the Australian Genocide against its Aboriginal population. In his Rorschach landscapes of Fairy Bower and Amata, the artist documents a howling dark presence in place of a tribal home where children would have ran happily through the trees and bathed in the waterfall and its streams.

Quilty explores humans wrecking havoc on other humans, because they can, or are obliged to, within the social framework of the current systems. Environment’s may appear inviting and innocent but Quigley examines that which is lurking beneath. There is an anger in Quiltys work, he is hurting and you must too.

Quilty is a proficient landscape and figurative artist that can morph into a nightmarish surrealism. Quilty is battling a demon much larger and more connected than he. He wants justice, the paintings are the evidence and the gallery space is the court room. Quilty has managed to captured the attention of the art public with his profound statements in thickly plastered paint.

Like Van Gogh, he uses sculptural paint and his tortured metamorphosis are in keeping with Brett Whitely and Francis Bacon.

IMG_8038

Quilty’s has witnessed war and it has taken its toll on him, as an artist and a human he has walked amongst the disenfranchised and documents their experience. Where journalists have dropped off , the social issues, like leaves, Quilty has become Australias fourth estate, placing the news, no longer in the paper, but on the walls. Quilty challenges us to look into our own backyard.

IMG_7407

 

by April Forward

Plundered & Broken

FullSizeRender-191

The tale of Aboriginal plunder is a never-ending ballad that sings in the winds of this great country, a land that Elea (Albert) Namatjira painted so lovingly in watercolour. Namatjira’s world-renowned artistic status may have provided him with a thin shield against racism but it was easily shattered, even his greatness, wealth and innocence could not protect him from incarceration.

FullSizeRender-111
Namatjira surrounded by family as he painted

The legend begins when Artist , Rex Battarbee took a painting trip into the Outback, after returning from the devastation of War in the 1930’s. He met Namatjira and it was through their collaboration that the 30-year-old Aranda man learnt to paint and exhibit. They went onto become lifetime friends, able to see pass the bigotry of the day.

International success took this humble man to great worldly heights, he was awarded the Coronation Medal and was the toast of the town. His exhibitions sold out shortly after they opened and most kitchens had one of his reproductions on a calendar or tea towel.

FullSizeRender-119

Before the 1967 Referendum, Australian Aboriginals where denied Human Constitutional Rights and were categorised as part of the wildlife or wards of the state. They were denied most basic human rights and in an insipid twist of irony could not own their land as it had been acquired by the Commonwealth.

Namatjira’s unprecedented rise on the world stage would require him to have a passport and his growing wealth attracted taxes, thus him and his wife Robina were given Australian citizenship  in 1957, enabling him to buy a house in Morris Soak .

Unfortunately his children were not granted citizenship and were regarded as ‘Wards of the State’ as all Aboriginal people were. They did not have the right to choose their marriage partner, be legally responsible for their own children,to change location or socialise with non-aboriginals. It also meant that when the Great Artist and his wife died the Legal Will that aimed to financially protect their children was made void as his children belonged to the state. Their financial copyright royalties were ‘acquired’ by the state and sold on.

The Namatjira Project  began as an objective to buy back the royalties (which will expire shortly) but has become a legal investigation.

The most moving part of the film is when Namatjira’s  homeless grandson gives his artwork to the Queen in her palace and walks away empty-handed. The documentary is a thoughtful journey, full of beautiful archives and an artistic vision, they tip toe over a mine field but I think they have let off a bomb.

*Due to the humane efforts of The Namatjira Project, the Royalties have been returned.

fullsizerender-189.jpg

FullSizeRender-190

Another victory in justice for the family

img_5886.jpg

IMG_5887

The Namatjira Family continue the water-colour tradition as their cultural inheritance.

A Message from the Family

It is a with a heavy heart that we write to let you know that our dear friend and watercolour artist of true talent, Kumantjai K Namatjira has passed away. On Saturday afternoon 3rd November in Alice Springs Hospital, he bid farewell, surrounded by family. One year after his cousin, Kumantjai L Namatjira, and 5 years after meeting The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

unnamed-3

 

by April Forward

THE NAMATJIRA PROJECT

DIRECTOR & CINEMATOGRAPHER Sera Davies

PRODUCER

Sophia Marinos

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Julia Overton

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS (CULTURAL)
Lenie Namatjira
Gloria Pannka