Tali Gallery will be delighted to host visiting artist, Mervyn Rubuntja,  painting in an Open Studio scenario on Saturday, February 23rd, accompanied by his Art Centre Curator, Iris Bendor.  It is very fitting that Mervyn is painting in the Leichhardt Municipality as one of his subjects is Mt. Leichhardt in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, both named after Ludwig Leichhardt, the explorer.  As well, our nearby local Primary School, Rozelle Public attributed the names of prominent Aboriginal people to its classes in 2012 and one was fittingly called ‘Namatjira’ after Albert Namatjira.

Mervyn was taught to paint in the Hermannsburg watercolour style by his famous father, Wenton, who had learnt from the first and most famous artist of the movement, Albert Namatjira.  Please join us to welcome Mervyn to Sydney, show your support for the Hermannsburg watercolour movement, your sympathy for the trees featured in Albert Namatjira’s paintings which were recently destroyed by vandals (and which feature in one of Mervyn’s paintings here at Tali Gallery) and enjoy seeing him in action during this free entry event.  There will also be an ongoing video showing other artists in the movement who now paint with the Ngurrutjuta Many Hands Art Centre in the Desert Park in Alice Springs.

We thank local art supplier, Tilly’s, for their sponsorship of materials.


There will be a range of special experiences and visiting guests during the day and some of our nearby local cafes, including Rosebud, Piccolo’s and About Life will be serving special treats with native ingredients on their menu to celebrate and support the occasion.  Children in local childcare centres and schools have made welcome cards to present to Mervyn on the day.

10am          Welcome to Country from esteemed local Elder, Robert Webb, and Welcome to our Community  from our Balmain  Member of State Parliament,   Jamie Parker.  Presentation of welcome cards from local preschools, school and art class participants in our community.

10.15am    Creative Producer, Sophia Marinos, talking about Big hART’s Namatjira Project, the work being done around the country by Mervyn Rubuntja and the other Western Aranda watercolour artists to share the story of their art movement, and their grandfather, iconic Australian Albert Namatjira; followed by a screening of Ivy, a short film from the project (this will be on a loop for viewers throughout the day).

10.30am    Mervyn will be joined by Sydney watercolourist, Julie Simmons, recently awarded Artist of the Year by the Combined Art Societies of Sydney painting in watercolours together in situ.

11am          Young Indigenous artist, Nikeeta Haverfield will be leading a children’s landscape painting workshop (suitable for 7 to 12 year olds)   $25 per child, bookings essential.  Children are encouraged to arrive earlier and watch Mervyn and Julie painting and ask them any questions they may have.  Participants can also bring an ipad and use the Big hART paint a watercolour app if they would like to add to their skills at the end of the class with the help of the Big hART team.

12.30-1.30 Lunch Break – enjoy native food treats in our community, Rosebud Cafe, Piccolo’s, the Corner Bar, About Life, and Belle Fleur Chocolates.

2.30pm     Talk by Summer Hill resident, Martin Edmond,  who is writing a book about Albert Namatjira and the artist, Rex Battarbee who taught Albert to paint in a European style.

3pm           A talk and Afternoon Tea with special guest,  Gayle Quarmby, Rex Battarbee’s daughter.  Gayle and her husband Mike, operate Outback Pride which is a special project to develop Indigenous skills and employment.  We’ll be serving taste treats with bush cordials and teas.

3.30pm    Introducing two people involved in managing Aboriginal Owned Community Art Centres in very different parts of Australia – the Kimberley and in the Heart of Alice Springs.  Cate Massola and Iris Bendor explain how art centres work and what painting for an art centre means to the artists as well as in relation to the ethics and provenance of purchasing Aboriginal Art.

4.00pm   Painting with technology workshop – for adults and kids – paint a watercolour on your own ipad in a group with the Big hART team.



SUNDAY February 24, “Haunted Landscapes” at the State Library of NSW – there will be a forum on the Hermannsburg Watercolour Movement, with a panel of interesting people from various parts of Australia, sponsored by the University of Western Sydney.