Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre is proudly Aboriginal owned and directed. It is the home of the Namatjira watercolour artists. The Art Centre was established by Ngurratjuta/Pmara Ntjarra Aboriginal Corporation and started operating in 2004, as a not-for-profit Art Centre to provide a place for Arrernte Artists to come together to paint, share and learn new techniques and ideas. The Art Centre is strongly committed to improving economic participation of Aboriginal people and maintaining cultural heritage.
Iltja Ntjarra has a special focus on supporting the ‘Hermannsburg School’ style watercolour artists, who continue to paint in the tradition of their grandfather and relative, Albert Namatjira, arguably one of Australia’s most famous artists of the 20th century. Albert Namatjira taught his children to follow in his unique style, who have since passed this knowledge on to their children, which has resonated in a legacy of watercolour artists in the Central Desert region. By continuing his legacy, these artists sustain an important piece of living history.
Iltja Ntjarra is proud of its ethical work practices and aims to return the greatest possible percentage of sales to the artist.
Iltja Ntjarra acknowledges the role of Ngurratjuta/Pmara Ntjarra Aboriginal Corporation to the establishment and development of the Art Centre and thanks it for its ongoing support.
The things that are most important to us are:
- The watercolour painting style
- To welcome all landscape artists to paint with us
- To welcome and encourage youth to paint with us
- To pass down stories about our country and culture
- To teach about the legacy of the Hermannsburg School of Watercolour art movement
- To tell stories of learning from our grandfather and relative Albert Namatjira
- To support and keep culture strong
- To promote the effective and ethical sale of artworks
- To provide increased economic benefit directly to the artists through sales, professional development, exhibitions and marketing
Albert Namatjira laid the groundwork for the Aboriginal Art movement, which is now the international face of Australia. Iconic founder of the Hermannsburg School of Art, Albert Namatjira and his fellow artists who commenced painting with Rex Battarbee in the mid-1930s and ‘40s celebrated tradition and country through watercolour painting.