An exhibition showcasing the influence of Australia’s most notable Indigenous artists has opened in Mackay in north Queensland.

The collection, Namatjira to Now, includes the William Dargie portrait of Albert Namatjira, which won the Archibald Prize in 1956.

The exhibition also features 100 other water colour landscapes by artists inspired by Namatjira.

Artspace director Michael Wardell says Namatjira portrait is amazing.

“It’s a great treat to actually have it up here,” he said.

“It shows a wise man, it shows an image of a leader, but there’s also a modesty in the way he’s dressed, the way he’s posed.

“I think it’s a fascinating portrait.”

Mr Wardell says the exhibition tells the story of Australia’s cultural history through art.

“[Namatjira] was such an important figure because he was the first artist whose name was known as an Indigenous artist not only in Australia, but throughout the world,” he said.

“In the ’50s he was actually presented to the Queen – that was an enormous inspiration on a whole generation of Indigenous artists.”