Canberra, Sept 28 : Vincent Namatjira received Australia's prestigious Archibald prize for his painting of himself with Aboriginal footballer Adam Goodes. He became the first Australian Aboriginal artist to win such national prestigious award, after a period of 99 years. He was also awarded a cash price worth $ 100,000 at a virtual award ceremony. Namatjira's painting that won the award was titled ' Stand Strong for Who You Are.'
The painting was selected among almost 1000 submissions by the Art Gallery of South Wales' board trustees. The painting features Namatjira and the aboriginal footballer grabbing each other's hands against a black backdrop. While accepting the award, the artist said “It only took 99 years. I’m so proud to be the first ... To me it’s about time for an Aboriginal person to be recognized as an Archibald winner and also a turning point for Aboriginal people in Australia.”
Namatjira had met Goodes in 2018 and was very motivated to paint him soon after watching a documentary called ' The First Quarter', shot about the player's career which was followed by his last season to play as a professional footballer. He said that the documentary help him relate to the player as a person since both of their lives had to face a lot struggles and so for him to paint Goodes was as good as reflecting a painting of himself.
During his speech, Namatjira addressed the issue of racism since he had faced serious problems while growing up and said, “It’s a bit hard to forget the past but we just have to keep on pushing forward. That’s what I want to say about the past, it’s way too hard to let go.” Another painter named Meyne Wyatt became the first Aboriginal artist to win a secondary prize at the Archibalds, at the same event.