Abie Jangala was born in the bush in the vicinity of Thompson’s Rock about 350 kilometres south of Lajamanu.
After the war Jangala joined his family at Yuendemu, an Aboriginal reserve specifically created to accommodate the increasingly displaced Warlpiri population; later he was moved to a second Warlpiri settlement at Catfish, 600 kilometres to the north.
Despite these moves, at 16 years of age Jangala returned to the land of his birth to undergo his traditional initiation. Abie Jangala lived at Lajamanu in the Northern Territory since the early 1950s and was a strong and highly respected elder of this Warlpiri community. He was a man of great ritual authority, ceremonial boss for water-rain-cloud and thunder Jukurrpa (Dreamings) centred on widely dispersed sites in the Tanami Desert.
He said he painted the way his father told him to paint as “he comes to me in dreams”. His work is noted for its striking dense white dotting over a base colour and simple bold linear designs symbolising the graphic quality of the desert. The elements of thunder, lightning and rain which underpin the belief system of the nomadic Warlpiri people, resonate powerfully in a field of white dots.
Abie Jangala became a painter in 1983 and soon his work began to be exhibited in group shows in Australia, the USA and Europe. His work is represented in museum collections all over Australia and in a number of important international collections.
Subject & Themes
Ngapa – water dreaming, Frog Dreaming, rain, cloud thunder
Brody, A., Krempel, U., Bahr, E., (eds.), 1995, Stories, Eine Reise zu den grossen Dingen, exhib. cat., Landeshauptstadt Hannover Der Oberstadtdirektor Sprengel. Museum Hannover and Autoren.
Monty, S., 1990, ‘Abie Jangala,” Special Double Issue Artlink 10 (1&2), 15.
Caruana, W., 1993, Aboriginal Art, Thames and Hudson, London.
Crumlin, R., (ed.), 1991, Aboriginal Art and Spirituality, Collins Dove, North Blackburn, Victoria, Glowezewski, B., 1991, Yapa,Peintres Aborigenes de Balgo et Lajamanu, Lebon Gallery Paris Johnson, V,. 1994, The Dictionary of Western Desert Artists, Craftsman House
NT Department of Education, 1985, Stories from Lajamanu
Ryan, J., 1989, Mythscapes Aboriginal Art of the Desert from the National Gallery of Victoria, exhib. cat., National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
Ryan, J, 1990, Paint up Big, Warlpiri Women’s Art of Lajamanu, National Gallery of Victoria.
Wallace, D., Desmond, M Caruana, W., 1991, Flash Pictures, exhib. cat., National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
1990, Contemporary Aboriginal Art from the Robert Holmes a Court Collection, exhib. cat., Heytesbury Holdings Ltd., Perth.
1993, Tjukurrpa Desert Dreamings, Aboriginal Art from Central Australia (1971 – 1993), exhib. cat., Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
Brody A.M. Stories: eleven aboriginal artists.Works from The Holmes a Court Collection, Allen & Unwin 1999
McCulloch,S. Contemporary Aboriginal Art:A guide to the rebirth of an ancient culture Allen & Unwin 1999
Tribal Elders : Symbolic Dreamings. EON International Pty Ltd. 1998 Edited by Laura Murray Cree & Neville Drury: Australian Painting Now. Craftsman House, 2000