Monday, October 9, 2017


These unique ceramic pots come from Ntaria, a former Lutheran Hermannsburg Mission located 130 kilometres west of Alice Springs, right in the centre of Australia.

The potters are all women, who have develped a distinctive hand-coiled style, often topped with moulded figurative lids.  They display the spectacular and significant places around Ntaria, and document their culture, history and daily lives.

Pottery is not a tradition of the Aboriginal people of Australia.  However, when in 1982 the Arrernte people took responsibility for the mission, their Pastor Nahasson Ungwanaka sought to establish a means of livelihood for his people.
He organised formal instruction in ceramics and established the Hermannsburg Pottery.  The vibrant pottery has been exhibited to worldwide acclaim.

The emergence of the pottery, as well as the Hermannsburg School of landscape painting by the Arrernte people, came about because of one man, the famed Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira [1902-1959], mentioned in a previous post.

William Dargie, Australia, 1912-2003 'Portrait of Albert Namatjira' 1956. QAG
This painting of Namatjira by Sir William Dargie won the Archibald Prize for portraiture in 1956 and has become accepted as the iconic image of Australia's most recognised Aboriginal artist of his generation.

Google Image: Hermannsburg Lutheran Mission

Born in 1902, Namatjira, was raised on the Lutheran Mission at Hermannsburg and showed interest in art from an early age.  However, it was in 1934 that he began to paint seriously after seeing an exhibition of watercolour landscapes by Melbourne artist Rex Battarbee who made painting exhibitions into the region.  
Albert asked for painting lessons, and quickly flourished as a watercolour painter, developing his own unique style.

Above: Albert Namatjira 'Central Mount Wedge', 1945.  Below: Rex Battarbee 'Central Australian landscape' 1936

His landscapes appeared 'conventional' but he painted his own country, his way, richly detailed watercolours of Central Australia which differ significantly from the abstract designs of traditional Aboriginal art.

In the 1940s and 1950s he achieved great fame and popularity, with prints of his landscapes found in homes across Australia.  In 1953 he received the Queen's Coronation Medal, and met Her Majesty during her 1954 Australian tour.

Albert Namatjira 'The Finke River Gorge at entrance to Glen Helen' c. 1945-53

In 1957 Namatjira and his wife Rubina were granted Australian citizenship (denied to Aboriginal Australians generally until 1967).  This meant he was allowed to vote, and buy alcohol, but his life remained heavily controlled by the authorities, and sadly became much more difficult for him.  He was cheated in land dealings while attempting to make a home for his family, and by the late 1950s they were located in a camp at Morris Soak, a dry creek bed outside Alice Springs.  He was living in poverty, and died shortly after a heart attack in 1959.

Google Image: Albert Namatjira

His paintings are held in Collections around Australia and the world, and while they fell out of favour for a while, they are now acknowledged for their unique Australian style and beauty.  He taught his sons to paint as well as other kin, and they went on painting expeditions together.  In 1950 his niece Cordula Ebatarinja joined them, becoming one of the first Aboriginal women artists recognised by the art world.

The unique painting style of the first generation has been retained by their descendants, and the Hermannsburg School of landscape painting continues today.  After years of exploitation, in 2004 they formed the Many Hands Art Centre in Alice Springs for the continuation of this art tradition.

The Namatjira Story is currently on exhibition in Qld Art Gallery.

The Royal Collection of Her Majesty contains a number of Namatjira paintings.

As good a reason as any to share this recent sweet photo of a visit to Balmoral by the Australian Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove.
Note that famous painting of Queen Victoria on the wall behind.

Have a good week.


Thursday, September 28, 2017


Happy Unexpected Early Summer to all Australians!
It has been 35-38c here this week, a record for September in the Springtime.

And not a record we are thrilled to achieve...

I keep gazing at my new blue porcelain shell -
inspired by the new curtains...

A pair of rare King Parrots visited.
They are so shy, I had to take my pictures through the screen door, then the sound of the shutter frightened them away. 


Little Aussie has been here, enjoying the school holidays...

Gladiator Exhibition, Queensland Museum

Little Aussie Gladiator...

Dug the broken sundial out of the plaster block faster than I could take a 'before' picture...

Checking it out in the sunshine to see if it works.
So far, so good.

Lego gladiators in a Lego Colosseum ... 
 disappointed we did not have enough white Lego!

Grow your own Coral kit...

Aussie loves the finished effect -
and painted his own little picture of it.
I think the boy tends towards the abstract....

These Crucifix orchids have gone mad in the heat - 
three weeks ago they were dismal...

'Under the Jacaranda' Godfrey Rivers, QAG
Jacaranda season has arrived, early, and purple is bursting out all over Brisbane.

The new hang of the Australian Collection opens this weekend at QAG.
You will love it..

Have a good weekend

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Greetings from the Red Cardinal nest.
Life has been busy, and Springtime is flying by..
Jonquils have bloomed in our daffodil garden,

and friends came for lunch bringing me a wonderful bouquet, just stunning.
We celebrated Springtime in the garden....

Dad's orchid was duly admired - next year, Six Fronds!

My dear friend D gave me this lovely vintage bowl - 
Springtime Perfection...

It is countdown time: in three month we fly to Canada for Christmas.
The little grandsons are enjoying Fall, when it appears the apples do just that...

Naturally, we are looking for a White Christmas -

Fingers crossed...

I joined a new choir for Ladies of a Certain Age:

Have been to a few rehearsals, and so far, so good.
It's been lovely re-connecting with many friends from my old choir which closed last year.  There is a uniform:  a shirt in a plain, bright colour, worn with black.

I made this from a small length of silk from the stash:

These tiny orchids are stalwarts -
they appear every year, demand no maintenance, and are wired onto a post!

A bit of rain would be nice for all the other plants -
it's been dry for weeks as Summer moves in on us.

Australian wild ducks, on my daily walk..

Irene Entata, Australia, b.1946, Arrernte/Luritja people 'ALBERT AND REX PAINTING' 2003. QAG.

Indigenous artist Irene Entata, lived as a child at Hermannsburg Mission in Central Australia.  In her paintings, she remembers those times fondly and joyously paints the beautiful MacDonnell Ranges and the abundant flora and fauna of the area.

Entata remembers seeing the famous aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira [1902-59] when she was a small child, and here depicts the early years of the Namatjira story.  A veteran of World War 1, artist Rex Battarbee, travelled by camel on a number of expeditions to paint the beauty of the inland.  On his 1936 visit to Hermannsburg he met Namatjira who asked for tuition in watercolour painting, in return offering to act as 'camel boy'.

Namatjira learnt quickly, and in a few years surpassed his teacher.
I will tell his story in another post.  
Entata's painting is very detailed - look at the trees at the bottom centre and left - what appear to be pink flowers are in fact a famous Australian bird, the Galah:

Have a good week.