Albert Namatjira (1902-1959)

Albert Namatjira, born Elea, the first son of Namatjira and Ljukutja of the Arrernte Tribe at the Hermannsburg mission on the 28th of July 1902. Three years later on Christmas Eve 1905 he was baptized and given the name, Albert, in the same ceremony his parents were given the names, Jonathon and Emilie. It was not customary for Western Arrernte people to have a second name. For this reason Alberts first paintings were signed, Albert. It was not until Albert started exhibiting that it was thought appropriate for him to have a second name. He took his fathers original name and signed his works, Albert Namatjira.
Prior to becoming an artist Albert worked at the mission in the trades of carpentry and blacksmithing. At the age of eighteen he eloped with his wife Ilkalita, who were together forced to live in neutral country away from the mission for three years. This was because Ilkalita, later baptized Rubina, had been denied to him under tribal law. It was deemed by traditional marriage law that Albert married, wrong way. When he returned to the mission he worked as a camel boy on the train between Oodnadatta and Alice Springs.
In the late 1920s Albert took an interest in the emerging crafts industry at Hermannsburg. He began decorating mulga plaques with religious scripture and images of native plants and animals. This led to his first commercial success in 1932, when he was commissioned by Police Constable W. Mackinnon to make a dozen oval shaped plaques.
Albert first became interested in watercolour painting when he saw an art exhibition at Hermannsburg featuring the works of Rex Battarbee and John Gardner. The paintings amazed Albert who immediately enquired to Pastor Albrecht, how much this fella get? At first Albrecht dismissed his interest but Albert persisted, I think I can still do it, said Albert. Albrecht reconsidered Alberts request and consulted with Battarbee who encouraged the idea and offered to teach painting to any Aboriginal who wished to learn. Battarbee left the mission soon after and did not return for two years. During this time Albert toiled with his paints but after his initial enthusiasm decided to wait for the lessons he had been promised. In 1936 Battarbee returned and commissioned Albert, as his camel boy, to take him on a painting trip. Albert guided Battarbee through some of the most spectacular country in Central Australia, including Palm Valley, The James Range and Gosses Gorge. Over the next two-months Albert received his first and last lessons. He progressed rapidly excelling in draftsmanship, perception of colour and study-of-detail. His first major public exhibition was oppened just two years later in Melbourne on the 5th of December 1938, in which all 41 works sold within days, this would become the norm in his future exhibitions. Alberts extraordinary ability sparked contention amongst critics of the day and several state galleries refused to collect or acknowledge his work.
During the war years Albert became inundated with requests for his paintings. The demand came from Australian and American soldiers who were based in the Alice Springs area. A shortage of materials due to the war years forced Albert to substitute paper for local beanwood. Albert would cut wood from the beanwood tree and craft it into smooth plaques for painting.
Alberts reputation grew during 1940s and 50s. Of quietly spoken and dignified character he met with dignitaries from around the world, including the Queen of England. People came from afar to meet Albert. Despite all of the hype and publicity surrounding his success, Albert remained modest. Preferring the peaceful surroundings of his tribal lands to the hustle and bustle of the big cities. He became internationally renowned as one of Australias greatest artists.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Kngwarreye
Tribal Name: Tonanga
  

Enos Namatjira (1920-1966)

Enos was born in 1920. He attended mission school before finding work as a camel boy. One of his first jobs as a cameleer was in 1938 when he was commissioned by his father and Battarbee to accompany them on a painting trip into the MacDonnell Ranges.
Enos took up watercolour painting in 1945. His early enthusiasm to paint in watercolour had been slowed due to his father having a tribal obligation to give more assistance to Walter Ebatariinja. Enos was a keen contributor to the Hermannsburg handicraft initiative and decorated his carved boomerangs with lively scenes depicting wildlife.
Enos persevered with his art and by the late 1940s had developed his own distinct style. Battarbee cited that this was a factor of him living away from his fathers artistic influence on a reserve West of Herrmannsburg. His landscapes are vibrantly painted with stylised brushwork and expressive colours, often favoring moody blue and purple toning. He produced a few figurative works on paper which depicted hunting scenes with tribesman, emus and wild dogs.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Peltharre
  

Oscar Namatjira (1922-1991)

Oscar was born in 1922. He attended mission school before joining the Army Labor Gang in 1942. Three years later he returned to the mission and took up painting. One of Oscars first jobs was to drive his fathers truck. Oscar would drive Albert to his various painting spots and leave him with painting supplies. Oscar would then head off to visit the camps of family and friends. This routine lasted for about a year until the truck became so damaged from the rough dirt tracks that it had to be garaged.
Oscars work was perhaps most strongly influenced by his fathers. His landscapes are beautifully drafted and coloured. Early works display a delicate palette and capture subtle changes of light and shadow on the landscape. Oscars best work is comparable to Alberts for technique and beauty. His ghost gums are also masterly executed. Early works were signed Oskar Namatjira.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Peltharre
  

Ewald Namatjira (1930-1984)

Ewald was born the third son of Albert and Rubina on the 11th of July 1930. As a young child Ewald would often complain of ill health and was subsequently allowed to spend more time at home or on painting trips with his father.
Ewald took up painting in 1947. His first work surprised Pastor Albrecht who had thought Ewald to have little artistic abilty. Rex Battarbee noted that Ewald showed a lot of ability and originality in his early artwork and credited it for its atmosperic and decorative qualities. This is especially evident in his early works in which his landscapes display interesting patterns and design qualities.
In July 1949, at the age of 19, Ewald was involved in a hunting accident with a rifle which caused the loss of sight in his right eye. Ewald recovered from the injury and continued to paint but to some degree it altered his abilities and the direction of his style. In some of Ewalds later work the landscape has a slanted appearance. One of the strengths was his colouration where he employed deep reds, purples, ochres and vivid golds.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Peltharre
  

Keith Namatjira (1938-1977)

Keith was born the fourth son of Albert and Rubina on the 13th of June 1938. He grew up at a time when his father had achieved much renown through his art and would often accompany him on interstate trips. He was present when Albert was introduced to Queen Elizabeth in Canberra in 1954. Keith features in the documentary film Sons Of Namatjira which exposes bad practices in the emerging contemporary Aboriginal art market.
Keith took up painting in the tradition established by his father and older brothers. His early works are finely drafted and include a more diverse range of subjects. A feature of his later work is his boldly expressive ghost gums.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Peltharre
  

Maurice Namatjira (1939-1977)

Maurice was born the fifth son of Albert and Rubina in 1939. He took up painting in the late 50s.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Peltharre
  

Gabriel Namatjira (1942-1969)

Gabriel was born the son of Enos Namatjira on the 20th of January 1942.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Kngwarreye
   

The Pareroultja Brothers

The three Pareroultja brothers were born the sons of Kristian and Auguste. Their second name is associated with their fathers totemic site.
There are several major native-cat totemic sites to be found in the Mt. Sonder area, but all of these are located in rugged country several miles distant from the mountain. One of them is PaEroultja... once the home of the long deceased father of three well-known Hermannsburg watercolour artists originally christened Ruben, Otto and Edwin; they later adopted the name of their fathers totemic site as their own family name. STREHLOW - Mythology of the Centralian Aboriginie.
The Pareroultja brothers were recognised for their divergence in artistic style from that of Namatjira. Rex Battarbee credits Edwin for leading this breakaway and notes that Edwin also encouraged his brothers, Otto and Reuben, with their art.

Otto Pareroultja (1914-1973)

Otto was born on the 24th of March 1914. He attended mission school and later worked as a stockman, carpenter, shearer and gardener. He also served on the Native Council at Hermannsburg.
Otto started painting in 1940. Over the next few years he painted intermittently. By the mid 1940s Otto had become devoted to his art. He was encouraged with his painting by his brother Edwin and Rex Battarbee. He held his first solo exhibition in 1947 in which all 48 paintings were sold.
Ottos paintings portray the dreamtime world of the Western Arrernte People. Depicting important creation centres and ancestoral narratives. A pictorial account of how the world and its creation might have looked through the eyes of a Western Arrerente tribesman. One in which ancient mountains and trees bend and jut in rhythm with story, colour and movement. His early works favored rich earthy tones but he later utilized a brighter and more expressive palette.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Kngwarreye
 

Reuben Pareroultja (1916-1986)

Reuben was born on the 3rd of May 1916. After attending mission school he worked odd jobs before joining the Army Labor Gang in 1942. One year later he was discharged for ill health. Reuben returned to the mission where he briefly took up painting before moving to an Aboriginal reserve west of Hermannsburg with his wife Elsie and their three young children.
Reuben took up painting full time in 1945. He was one of the only Hermannsburg artists who depicted the people and wildlife of the Centralian bush. Battarbee encouraged his figurative work but Reuben was reluctant because tribal law forbid him from painting such subjects. Reubens paintings exude a soft palette and are finely drafted.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Kngwarreye
 

Edwin Pareroultja (1918-1986)

Edwin was born on the 23rd of October 1918. As a young man he was physically fit and excelled at all sports especially running. Edwins remarkable ability as a runner was demonstrated at a Red Cross sports meeting in Alice Springs, 1944. The only runner off scratch Edwin won both the 130yrd and 75yrd barefoot against the best runners from the Army and Allied Works. He competed on a few other occasions but received little encouragement.
Edwin began painting in 1943, his first attempt astounding Rex Battarbee, The greatest impression any artist has ever made on me was on 25th October 1943, when Edwin showed me his first watercolour, Rex Battarbee, Modern Australian Aboriginal Art, 1951. Battarbee encouraged Edwin to develop his own style and not to emulate that of Albert. His first solo exhibition was opened on the 12th of November 1946 at the Athenaeum Art Gallery, Melbourne. Edwin was inspired by the symmetries and patterns found in nature. This is evident in the form of parallel ranges and decorative shrubbery. This design quality resembles traditional Arrernte symbolism where parallel and circular lines move in harmony. Note. Early works 1943/44 were signed, Edwin Bareroultja.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Kngwarreye
 

Walter Ebatarinja (1915-1968)

Walter was born the son of Joshua and Ruth on the 20th of October 1915. He was schooled at the mission and became proficient in the trades of stock-whip and belt plaiting.
Walter held a high degree of tribal authority at Hermannsburg due to his ancestry. His father was considered the headman of the Hermannsburg group and his family were the traditional custodians of the Roulbmaulbma, an area in the vicinity of Ellery Creek. He was the nephew of Albert Namatjira.
Walter began painting in the early 1940s and was one of the first to take up painting after Albert. He initially received lessons from Albert who was obliged to help Walter because of his tribal status. This meant that Walter was taught before Alberts sons Enos & Oscar Namatjira who were also showing an interest in painting at the time. Walter improved quickly under Alberts guidance and found a good market for his artwork. His early and mid period works are beautifully executed. His later compositions became more standardized when he mostly worked from memory and painted prolifically for the tourist market.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
  

Cordula Ebatarinja (1919-1973)

Cordula was born in 1919 and was the niece of Albert Namatjira. She was raised by Albert and married Walter Ebatarinja, with whom she had several children.
Cordula began painting in 1950. Her interest in painting was at first seen as a curiosity and she was not encouraged with her art like the male artists. Regardless of this Cordula pursued her interest and became a successful exhibiting artist in her own right.
One of her paintings was bought by Prince Philip at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. This sale was mentioned in an article written about Cordula and published in Womans Day magazine titled, The Female Namatjira, 1957.
Cordula would have gained her initial skills in painting from watching her husband Walter. Her landscapes have a decorative feel and are competently executed.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Peltharre
 

Henoch Raberaba (1914-1975)

Henoch was born on the 16th of July 1914, his second name, Raberaba, means, willy-willy, or wirlwind. He had several children with his wife Regina and was the tribal brother of Albert Namatjira.
Henoch was a renowned stockman and in 1944 became one of the founding members of the Hermannsburg Aboriginal Pastoralists Scheme. He was given fifty cows, a bull, several horses and an interest free loan which was to be paid back with the first sale of bullocks. After two years he asked to be relieved of his position and returned to the mission.
Henoch had been involved with Albert Namatira in craft making since he the early 1930s. He took up painting in 1946 after joining Albert on a painting trip. By the following year he had become devoted to his art and sold more paintings then any other artist in the group. His art is distinguished by vibrant luminous washes and stylized treatment of subject.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Kngwarreye or Penangke
  

Herbert Raberaba (1920-1980)

Herbert was born on the 14th of April 1920.
He began painting in the late 1940s. In 1951 his paintings were included with twelve other Aranda artists in an exhibition held by Rex Battarbee. His art displays a strong sense of emotion towards subject, conveying the brooding atmospheric qualities of the landscape. This is emphasised by his colouring which favors richer and more lurid tones.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Penangke
   

Brenton Raberaba (1951-1974)

Brenton was born the son of Herbert and Arfa Raberaba at Hermannsburg on the 19th of December 1951. He began painting in the late 1960s.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Pengarte
 

Richard Moketarinja (1916-1983)

Richard was born near Hermannsburg in 1916. His second name, Moketarinja, means, snake curled up in a circle. He was schooled at the mission and later worked in building and construction around the mission.
In 1940 Rex Battarbee invited Richard on a one-month painting trip. Battarbee was impressed by Richards drawing ability and decided to encourage him rather than interfere with his developing style. Richard went on another painting trip the following year by which time he was earning a good living from painting on boomerangs. Despite his handicraft success he opted for a career change and joined the Army Labour Gang. Three years later he returned to the mission and over the next few years painted intermittently. By 1948 he had become devoted to his art once more and that year he painted more pictures then any other artist in the group. His style was considered primitive by the market and because of this his works did not command the higher prices achieved by other artists in the group.
His style has a uniquely tribal feel and portrays the landscape with decorative pattern and swirling motifs. Some works echo a mythological theme with land features representing ancestral forms, perhaps revealing some of the secrets of the Western Arrernte Dreamings.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Peltharre
  

Benjamin Landara (1921-1985)

Benjamin was born the son of August and Naomi on the 6th of September 1921. His was a close relative of Walter Ebatarinja and signed his early works Benjamin Ebatarinja.
Benjamin married Albert Namatjiras eldest daughter Maisie. He took up painting in the late 1940s and would often paint with Albert. Albert encouraged Benjamin with his art and some of his early works show this influence.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Kemarre
  

Adolf Inkamala (1914-1960)

Adolf was born the son of Reinhold and Clara on the 27th of December 1914. He was the nephew of Albert Namatjira.
He began painting in the mid to late 1940s and was a pupil of Albert Namatjira. In the early 1950s Adolf was granted permission to run a commercial cattle heard on land West of Haast Bluff, a venture which proved to be successful. His landscapes are finely drafted.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Mpetyane
   

Gerhard Inkamala (1917-1977)

Gerhard was born the son of Reinhold and Clara on the 2nd of June 1917.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Mpetyane
  

Claude Pannka (1928-1972)

Claude Pannka was born the son of Anthapa and Sandra at Tempe Downs in 1928.
Language Group: Luritja
Skin: Kemarre
   

Rosina Pannka (1931-?)

Rosina Pannka wife of Claude Pannka.
Language Group: Aranda
Skin: Pultara
   

Ivan Panka (1943-1999)

Ivan Panka was born the son of Anthapa and Sandra at Hermannsburg in 1943.
Language Group: Luritja
Skin: Perrurle
   

Gustav Malbunka (1909-1989)

Gustav Malbunka was born the son of Hezekiel and Julanta Malbunka at Hermannsburg on the 11th of february 1909. He joined the Army in the 1940s.
He began painting during the 1940s and produced only a small body of artwork. One of his works painted in 1951 was titled, Cubism in Aranda Country, by Rex Battarbee. He later embarked on a venture to run a pastoral business with his family.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Peltharre
   

Kenneth Entata (1932-1982)

Kennneth was born the son of Rolf and Millicent on the 9th of April 1932. He began painting in the 1950s.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Mpetyane
   

Clem Abbott (1939-1989)

Clem was born the son of Arthur & Katie Abott on the 30th of July 1939.
Language Group: Western Arrernte
Skin: Mpetyane
  

Wenten Rubuntja (c.1923-2005)

Wenten was born the son of Bob Rubuntja at Burts creek in the 1920s.
Language Group: Arunda
Skin: Pengarte
    

Other artists not listed above

Hubert Pareroultja (1952-) Son of Reuben Pareroultja.
Reggie Namatjira (1946-)
Jillian Namatjira (1949-1991) Daughter of Enos Namatjira.
Albert Jnr Namatjira (1955-2013)
Trevor Pareroultja (1941-1983) Son of Otto Pareroultja
Arnulf Ebatarinja (1931-)
Joshua Ebatarinja (1940-1973) Son of Walter Ebatarinja
Desmond Ebatarinja (1946-2004)
Gloria Moketarinja (1922-1982)
Nelson Pannka (1935-1971)
Thomas Stephens
Lindsay Imbarndarinja