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The Water

The water fall.

Categories: SAM Art Centre

Name: Marina Abreu

Language: Arabana, Awabakal, Alyawarr

Community: Ali Curung


Mervyn was born at the Telegraph Station in Alice Springs. His mother, Cynthia (Kamara) was a Western Arrernte woman. His father was the famous painter, the late Mr. Wenten Rubuntja Pengarte.His father has been an important role model for Mervyn. He was a senior Lawman and and a respected member of his community. He fought for Aboriginal rights and protection of the land and worked alongside the Central Land Council and assisted in the Marbo agreement. (See his biography The Town grew up Dancing, IAD Press). Mervyn is following in his father's footsteps and painting his watercolours in the way his father taught him. When Mervyn was 13 yrs 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, gave him some watercolour paperboard and told him to paint and that was the beginning for him. Mervyn's family moved back to Alice Springs again in 1975 and he began to paint with Basil Rantji, who taught him how to mix colours. Then his father gave him some paperboards too and he watched his father paint. Mervyn lives at Larapinta town camp where he paints at the Learning Centre. He also paints for Ngurratjuta Many Hands. Mervyn has sold his paintings at the Papunya Tula Gallery and the Arunta Book shop in Alice Springs and was accepted again for the 2008 Telstra Awards in Darwin. In 2006 Mervyn was invited to submit a painting for the "Mornington Peninsular Works on Paper" Exhibition and in 2013 he was invited to participate in the Seminar "Presences in the art of Rex Battarbee & Albert Namatjira" at the State Library of NSW.

© the artist / art centre