THIS IS NO FANTASY: dianne tanzer + nicola stein is an Australian contemporary art gallery, operated by Melbourne gallerists Dianne Tanzer and Nicola Stein. The gallery was created by the duo as a platform to promote and exhibit contemporary artists’ works in Australia and internationally. THIS IS NO FANTASY represents a select group of artists whose practices are defined by integrity, critical engagement, and a strong personal aesthetic.
In December 2018, THIS IS NO FANTASY landed a spot as the first Australian gallery to exhibit at Art Basel Miami Beach, showing the works of Vincent Namatjira, an Aboriginal artist. Namatjira was the first Indigenous Aboriginal artist to exhibit at Art Basel, one of the world’s most prestigious fairs.
Namatjira’s imagery reflects on Australia’s colonial history, with recurring references to the British Royal family, political leaders, and contemporary aspects of Indigenous life. Namatjira’s latest works reveal his growing interest in the contemporary discourse around international political issues.
Art Basel-goers in Miami were treated to comic relief, as they viewed the bold and colorful paintings of Vincent Namatjira’s exhibit. One eyecatcher was the portrait of Donald Trump posing with her majesty Queen Elizabeth II—with a cup of tea, and Trump holding a carton of McDonald’s fries.
Drawing on imagery from popular culture, Namatjira paints influential figures from his studio in remote Australia. By bringing those people closer to his own life, he reflects on and reinforces their far-reaching impact on everyday existence around the globe.
“Having a little bit of humor can take power out of a serious situation”
– Vincent Namatjira
“I have painted some of the political leaders and big decision-makers in the world today. I’m interested in these powerful figures and world-leaders – I see them on the news and wonder how and why they make their decisions. These people are far away from the remote community where I live. However, when I paint them, it brings them into my world,” says Namatjira, who also discovered that he shares the same birthday as Donald Trump.
“Having a little bit of humor can take power out of a serious situation. Whether something is happening to you right now, or it happened long ago – it lets you be in a little bit of control again, you can get a bit of cheeky revenge. A sense of humor and a paintbrush is a powerful thing,” says Vincent Namatjira.
Following an outstanding show at Art Basel Miami Beach 2018 and Art Basel Hong Kong 2019, Namatjira’s paintings have gained significant recognition in the international contemporary art community. His gallery, THIS IS NO FANTASY: dianne tanzer + nicola stein continues to promote his works at the top modern art fairs around the world.