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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Never let you go

'I hope my grandfather would be quite proud, maybe smiling down on me; because I won’t let him go. I just keep carrying him on, his name and our families’ stories.'

1 Studio self-portrait, 2018 Vincent Namatjira OAM. Art Gallery of New South Wales [240.2018] Gift of Geoff Ainsworth AM and Johanna Featherstone 2018 Photo: AGNSW. © Vincent Namatjira/Copyright Agency, 2021. 2 Albert and Vincent, 2014 Vincent Namatjira OAM. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Gift of Dirk and Karen Zadra through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation 2014. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program [2015.011] Photograph: Natasha Harth, QAGOMA. © Vincent Namatjira/Copyright Agency, 2021. 3 Albert Namatjira, Artist, Alice Springs, c. 1957 Ern McQuillan OAM. © Michael McQuillan's Classic Photographs.

Vincent Namatjira is a Western Arrernte man and the great-grandson of Albert Namatjira. Vincent spent his early childhood at Ntaria (Hermannsburg), the place that, in the 1930s, had inspired Albert to take up painting. When he was about eight, Vincent’s mother passed away, and he was sent to Perth to be raised in foster homes. ‘I was so lost,’ he says of his adolescence, ‘I had to figure it all out for myself’. At eighteen he returned to family and Country, then married and started painting, all of which combined to refine Vincent’s sense of himself as a keeper and exponent of his great-grandfather’s tradition. Accordingly, Vincent has made a number of self-portraits incorporating portraits of Albert – such as a photo of Albert in his truck; and paintings by William Dargie, who painted with Albert and noted his ‘tremendous inner dignity’ contributed to ‘the most wonderful face for a portrait I’ve ever seen’.

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King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
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ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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