Vincent Namatjira becomes the first Indigenous artist to win the prestigious Archibald Prize in almost 100 years with a portrait of himself and footy superstar Adam Goodes

  • Vincent Namatjira is the winner of the $100,000 Archibald Prize in its 99th year
  • Namatjira won out of 55 finalists for a self-portrait featuring Adam Goodes
  • The painting featured symbols of Goodes’ career like his spear throw celebration

Vincent Namatjira has become the first Indigenous artist to win the Archibald Prize for his portrait of Adam Goodes.

Namatjira was announced winner of the $100,000 prize, now in its 99th year, at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney on Friday for his portrait titled Stand strong for who you are.

The announcement was made virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions with Namatjira accepting the prize via video link. 

‘This is a really special moment for me and I am feeling a bit nervous and excited,’ Namatjira said on Friday.

Vincent Namatjira (left) standing next to his self-portrait featuring Adam Goodes. He is the first Indigenous artist to win the Archibald Prize, it was announced on Friday

Vincent Namatjira (left) standing next to his self-portrait featuring Adam Goodes. He is the first Indigenous artist to win the Archibald Prize, it was announced on Friday

The Western Arrernte artist said he was honoured to be the first Indigenous winner of the Archibald, noting ‘it only took 99 years’.

Namatjira’s painting featured himself and Adam Goodes holding hands as well as himself holding an Aboriginal flag on the right.

In the background of the painting, Goodes can be seen doing his famous spear throw celebration, and pointing to his skin, which itself is a reference to AFL legend Nicky Winmar who first did it in front of racist opposition spectators in 1993.  

Namatjira’s work was up against portraits of refugee Behrouz Boochani, Indigenous author Bruce Pascoe and popular actor Magda Szubanski among the contenders.

The 55 Archibald finalists announced last week included Angus McDonald’s portrait of Boochani, the Kurdish-Iranian granted refugee status by New Zealand and Wendy Sharpe’s portrait of Szubanski.

In the background of the painting, Goodes can be seen doing his famous spear throw celebration, and pointing to his skin, which itself is a reference to AFL legend Nicky Winmar who first did it in front of racist opposition spectators in 1993

In the background of the painting, Goodes can be seen doing his famous spear throw celebration, and pointing to his skin, which itself is a reference to AFL legend Nicky Winmar who first did it in front of racist opposition spectators in 1993

Also among them was first-time Archibald prize entrant Meyne Wyatt who last week became the first Indigenous artist to win any of the prizes on offer in the Archibald’s 99-year history.

The actor and Wongutha-Yamatji man won the Packing Room Prize for his self-portrait.

The winner of the Sulman prize was also announced on Friday with Marikit Santiago taking home the award for her entry titled The Divine.

The Wynne prize was also on Friday awarded to Hubert Pareroultja for his piece titled Tjoritja (West MacDonnell Ranges, NT).

The announcement was made virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions with Namatjira accepting the prize via video link

The announcement was made virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions with Namatjira accepting the prize via video link

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