Name: Mervyn Rubuntja

Language: Arrernte, Western Aranda

Community: Alice Springs


Mervyn was born at the Telegraph Station in Alice Springs. His mother Cynthia (Kamara) Obitja was a Western Aranda woman. His father was the late Mr Wenten Rubuntja Pengarte a famous painter. 

His father was an important role model for Mervyn. He was a senior lawman and a respected member of his community. He fought for Aboriginal rights and protection of the land working alongside the Central Land Council and assisted in the Mabo agreement.

Mervyn has followed in his father's footsteps painting in the watercolour style that his father taught him. When Mervyn was 13 years old his family moved to Hermannsburg this is where he first saw watercolour paintings as he watched his uncles Maurice, Oscar and Keith Namatjira painting like their father Albert. Arnulf Ebatarinja another uncle kindled Mervyn’s painting talent when he gave him some watercolour paperboard and taught him to paint.

Mervyn’s family moved back to Alice Springs in 1975 and he began to paint with Basil Rantji who taught him how to mix colours. 

In 2006 Mervyn was invited to submit a painting for the "Mornington Peninsular Works on Paper" Exhibition. Mervyn was a finalist at the 2008/2017 NATSIA Awards in Darwin and in 2013 he was invited to participate at the seminar "Presences in the Art of Rex Battarbee and Albert Namatjira" at the State Library of NSW.


2013          Speaker at “Haunted Landscapes Presences in the art of Albert Namtjira & Rex Battarbee". A public symposium presented by the Writing & Society. The State Library, Sydney, NSW 
2014          Public Art, Mural at the Alice Plaza, Alice Springs
2016          Parrtjima, Festival of Light, Alice Springs (Ground projection)
2016          Cicada Press print workshop, UNSW, Sydney
2017          Parrtjima, Festival of Light, Alice Springs, (Honouring Space) 
2018          Badu Gili, painting projection on the eastern Bennelong sail, Sydney Opera House, Sydney 
2019          Cicada Press print workshop, UNSW, Sydney

2020           Public Art, window wraps at the Alice Plaza through Red Hot Arts, Alice Springs, NT



© the artist / art centre