As part of our tribute to Black History Month, we acknowledge that on this day, 115 years ago, celebrated Western Arrernte-speaking Australian Aboriginal artist Albert Namitjira (1902-1959), was born at Hermannsburg, Northern Territory. The MAAS collection contains watercolour on mulgawood woomeras painted by Albert Namitjira in a European-style painting made around 1940. By ‘decorating’ a traditional object, Namitjira was able to change both its function and cultural meanings.
These woomeras were fabricated according to conventional methods – carved from mulgawood, with strips of spinifex grass binding the wooden spike at one end, and smooth hardened spinifex resin encasing the other end. A symbolic black animal is always represented on the reverse of Namitjira’s Mt Sonder woomera paintings.
One of the woomeras is currently on display in the MAAS Icons exhibition. Google celebrates Namitjira’s legacy today (28 July 2017) by featuring his work on their daily masthead.