Tony Albert with members of the 2012 NORFORCE intake at Kangaroo Flats Tony Albert (second from the left) with members of the 2012 NORFORCE intake at Kangaroo Flats
Photo courtesy of the artist

Tony Albert was born in Townsville, North Queensland in 1981 and holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the Queensland College of Art.  He works in a number of art forms, including drawing, painting, photography, and installation. A founding member of Queensland’s Indigenous art collective proppaNOW, his art explores political, historical and cultural issues relevant to Indigenous people in Australia today.

Albert exhibits internationally and nationally and has been the recipient of numerous awards and prizes. Most recently Albert won the City of Sydney commission to create a public artwork in Hyde Park. Titled ‘Yininmadyemi – Thou didst let fall’ the artwork honours the military service of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service men and women and will be completed by ANZAC Day 2015. Visit here for further information.

Albert’s grandfather, Eddie Albert, enlisted in 1940. As a member of the 2/15th Battalion of the 9th Division he served in the Middle East before becoming a prisoner of war in Germany and Italy. His grandfather’s service and postwar experience as an Aboriginal returned serviceman has been an ongoing source of inspiration for Albert.

Tony Albert, Green Skins, 2012-2013, acrylic wash and pencil on paper, ART94985Tony Albert
Green Skins, 2012-2013
acrylic wash and pencil on paper

Tony Albert talks about his experience as official war artist to NORFORCE and the art works it inspired, May 2013.


Formed in 1981, NORFORCE is one of three specialist infantry units which operate across the north of Australia. Its area of responsibility covers 1.8 million square kilometres, which makes it the largest of any army surveillance unit in the world. Indigenous soldiers make up 50 per cent of NORFORCE personnel, and are recruited predominately from the area they patrol in order to draw on local knowledge. NORFORCE traces its history to the Northern Territory Special Reconnaissance Unit and the 2/1st Northern Australia Observer Unit, known as the “Nackeroos”, formed in response to the fear of Japanese invasion during the Second World War.