Norman Ratara painted scenes of gentle dynamic grandeur, portraying a country running on ‘forever’ in his panoramic compositions. In contrast, the panoramic shaped painting of his brother Noel Raggett is quite contained and more still in appearance. Norman was a talented artist whose career was probably constrained by his increasing traditional duties in a prominent family group. He helped regenerate interest in the Hermannsburg School, especially in portraying country appearing to move in relation to the plains.
Norman Ratara was a senior spokesperson for the Renkeraka/Ratara group during the Palm Valley Land Claim No 48 hearings, which reported in 1999. He died after the hearing and before the report of 13 August 1999. (3.7.1 and 3.7.2 of report).
Norman Ratara (1935-1999) and Noel Raggett (1937-75) were full brothers and were both born at Hermannsburg. The family usually used the Ratara surname, but Raggett was sometimes used alternatively. For instance, on the Register of Wards 1957, Noel was listed as ‘Ratara’ with correct birthdate. Their Western Arrernte parents were Kristoff and Monica Ratara. Both Norman and Noel were of the Mpetyane Subsection.
Neither artist was a prolific painter and the author’s collection includes five by Norman and only two by Noel Raggett. Noel Raggett was an occasional painter. It is estimated that they were active from about 1960, and early to mid-1970s. Considering the small number of paintings created, they were very capable. Both were followers, rather than leaders, when it came to art.