The Namatjira Connection
Gayle Quarmby, co-founder of Outback Pride, spent her early
childhood in outback Australia. Gayle's father was Rex Battarbee,
who founded the platform for the Aboriginal Art industry by
mentoring and supporting Albert Namatjira, as well as his family
and tribes men.
Rex was a watercolour artist in search of the great outback
landscape, moved by the plight of indigenous Australians, who at
that time struggled with cultural change and had very few prospects
for employment and healthy lifestyle
While at Hermannsburg Rex met a young camel team
worker called Albert. They developed a strong friendship, which
resulted in Rex training Albert as a landscape artist. With Rex's
mentorship, Albert Namatjira and kin became known around the world
as the Hermannsburg Watercolour movement. From those beginnings,
the current aboriginal art industry was created and has provided
valuable careers for many remote indigenous artists.
A Cultural Connection
Gayle remembers an adventurous childhood growing up with the
Eastern Arrente people of the Hermannsburg and Alice Springs area,
and fondly remembers gathering bush
food with the women and children. This cultural connection has
been a vital link in the Outback Pride project development. These
relationships were a keystone to the decision to focus on
indigenous engagement with the Outback Pride project.
Rex Battarbee's mentorship and belief was that indigenous people
have innate skills based on an intimate knowledge and connection to
their land. For Gayle, she has been saddened to realise that the
Aboriginal people of her childhood were living within a stronger
communal structure than a lot of the remote outback people of
Gayle and Mike wanted to make an industry based opportunity for
remote community members, and are using the Battarbee / Namatjira
model of cross cultural skills sharing as the structure of the
Outback Pride project.
A truly Australian cuisine
Outback Pride's aim was to create an identifiable Australian
cuisine that not only Australia could be proud of but would be
generational for indigenous people and bring pride to their
Gayle explains, "We are kind of bringing them with us on this
journey, but we have to work hard to make this industry grow so
more indigenous people can access it."
When asked how the public can support the project's goals, Gayle
emphasises the value of supporting the native food industry itself.
Eat the food, buy the bush food products and - by doing this - truly
connect to the story.