Albert Namatjira: vivid watercolours of Australia's outback – in pictures

By Steph Harmon

Born 115 years ago today in Hermannsburg, Northern Territory, Albert (Elea) Namatjira remains one of Australia's most famous artists, for his landscape paintings that celebrated the country through a unique lens of reds, ochres and purples.

His story is a tragic one: the Western Arrarnta man become the first Aboriginal to be granted Australian citizenship in 1957. He was then exempted from laws that denied Indigenous Australians the right to vote, own property and drink alcohol, but was arrested for introducing liquor into his community – a charge which he denied. He was released from prison after two months but never recovered, and died of a heart attack in 1959, aged 57.

The National Gallery of Australia is celebrating the artist's life and work with a new exhibition, Painting Country: a survey of 40 of his watercolours and painted objects which have never been publicly displayed.

  • Painting Country is on display until 19 November at the NGA, Canberra. Captions courtesy of the NGA

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