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Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation Film Gala

Years after he died, Albert Namitjira's copyright was sold by the Northern Territory public trustee for just $8,500, and is now privately owned by a Sydney family. 

The story of Namitjira’s artistic legacy and who should benefit from his copyright is the subject of The Namitjira Project, the feature of the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation’s (DAAFF) Film Gala.

The project started out as a piece of theatre, examining Namitjira’s life and work through a touring one-man play, and is now part of a campaign to restore Namitjira’s copyright to his family.

Despite being celebrated by white Australia and made a citizen, along with his wife Rubina, Namitjira suffered from the punitive laws of the country and was sent to jail before his death in 1959.

His iconic watercolours of Western Arrernte country forged a painting tradition that continues today through artists at the Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre, including through Namitjira’s descendants, some of whom will be at the Film Gala.

After the screening, a panel including ambassador of the Namitjira Project Hetti Perkins, Namitjira family members and intellectual property copyright expert Colin Golvan, will discuss the issues in the film.

This year’s Film Gala also features Ella, a doco about Ella Havelka, the first Aboriginal dancer accepted into the Australian Ballet in 2012, as well as a collection of short films from art centres across Australia.

The Namitjira Project | Sat 19 Aug | 7.30pm | Deckchair Cinema

Ella | Sun 20 Aug | 8pm | Deckchair Cinema

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