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Vincent Namatjira has won the 2020 Archibald Prize for a portrait of himself and former AFL player Adam Goodes titled, ‘Stand Strong for Who You Are’.
Namatjira is the first Indigenous artist to take out the top prize in its almost century-long history.
“This is a really special moment for me,” he said while accepting his award via video link, speaking from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands in South Australia.
“What an honour it is to be the first Indigenous winner of the Archibald prize. It only took 99 years. I’m so proud to be the first but I also have to acknowledge all the Indigenous finalists and Indigenous sitters for this year and past years.”
The great-grandson of renowned artist Albert Namatjira first met former Sydney Swans player Goodes in 2018, and decided to paint him after watching the documentary, ‘The Final Quarter’.
“I am thrilled that an Indigenous artist, Vincent Namatjira, has won the Archibald prize for the first time and I’m so pleased that it shines the light on all Indigenous art,” Goodes said of the artist’s victory on Friday.
“We have a 60,000 year history of art and culture in our people and we share this knowledge and gift of culture with all Australia.
“Vincent and I are also countrymen. I’m so proud of Vincent and his family, their journey has been shared through art of generations.”
Last week the 55 finalists for the Archibald Prize were announced at a small ceremony at NSW Art Gallery, where Meyne Wyatt was also named the winner of the Archibald Packing Room Prize.
The Wongutha-Yamatji man’s victory made him the first Indigenous person to win any of the prizes in the Archibald.