Selection of pots commissioned for the exhibition <em>Our Land is Alive: Hermannsburg Potters for Kids</em><br/>
© courtesy the artists
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Selection of pots commissioned for the exhibition Our Land is Alive: Hermannsburg Potters for Kids
Media Release • 28 Aug 15

Our Land is Alive: Hermannsburg Potters for Kids

The National Gallery of Victoria will celebrate art and football with Our Land is Alive: Hermannsburg Potters for Kids exhibition, which will see the renowned indigenous artists, Hermannsburg Potters from the Northern Territory create football-inspired terracotta pots.

The potters, who recently celebrated 25 years of producing their highly collectible ceramics, have depicted iconic football moments of Indigenous players past and present, including the celebrated image of Nicky Winmar lifting his shirt and proudly pointing to the colour of his skin in 1993, to match-defining moments such as Hawthorn’s Cyril Rioli taking a mark in the 2014 Grand Final.

The Hermannsburg Potters collective (the town is known as Ntaria to its residents) is situated 130 km south-west of Alice Springs. It is perhaps most famous as the home of the Hermannsburg Watercolour School pioneered in the mid-20th century by Albert Namatjira , one of Australia’s most prominent Aboriginal artists. The introduced medium of ceramics has become part of the unique artistic practice of the town since being taught by Lutheran missionaries in the 19th century.

In Our Land is Alive, the twenty newly commissioned pots are vibrantly and expressively painted by the artists and highlight the importance of football to the fabric of the community.  Through vivid and lively depictions of dynamic on-field football scenes that highlight pivotal moments which define indigenous football history, a sense of pride and community in the players and the game is conveyed. Indigenous footballers from the local Hermannsburg football club and all 18 AFL teams are featured on the pots, including triumphant moments achieved by football greats, such as Michael Long kicking AFL Goal of the Year from 50 metres out in 1993.

At three times during the exhibition, four of the Hermannsburg Potters will create pots in the exhibition space as artists-in-residence. During these week-long residencies, children and families will be able to meet and learn from the artists, and decorate their own papier-mache Hermannsburg-style pot to take home, as part of a range of participatory activities and public programs which include talks and forums in the space.

Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV, said, ‘The Hermannsburg Potters are some of Australia’s most significant Indigenous artists working today and it is our great honour to host them at the NGV to celebrate their 25th year. The exhibition will be a wonderful opportunity for children to work together with the artists and to create a dialogue about the importance of community and understanding through the shared passions of art and football.’

Martin Foley MP, Minister for Creative Industries, said, ‘Art and sport are celebrated markers of Australian culture. This exhibition brings these two worlds together and shows the role creativity can play in starting conversations, forging connections and telling stories to audiences of all ages.’

The exhibition design of the gallery space will also create an immersive and rich environment for children, with the pots creatively displayed in player positions on a red dirt football field inspired floor, a vibrant display of AFL paraphernalia, photography and footage and more than 100 footballs and AFL club flags hanging decoratively from the ceiling.

Our Land is Alive: Hermannsburg Potters for Kids will be on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square from 19 September to April 2016. Open 10am-5pm. Closed Mondays until October 1, open seven days from October to April. Please check open days on Entry is FREE.


Meet the Hermannsburg Potters

Sat 19, Sun 20, Tue 22 & Wed 23 Sep, 10am–12pm & 2–4pm

To celebrate the launch of their exhibition Our Land is Alive: Hermannsburg Potters for

Kids, artists from the Hermannsburg Potters group will demonstrate the techniques they use to create their signature pots. Children and families are invited to enjoy this rare opportunity to meet these Indigenous Australian artists.

Cost: Free

Venue: Exhibition space, Level 3, NGV Australia