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Aboriginal artist England Banggala’s paintings and fine art prints reflect his important status within the prodigious traditional ceremonial program in which he is involved.
His pictorial style combines elements of the west and central Arnhem Land traditions. The organic forms he represents in his work often depict the elements of Gunardba women travelling across the land, creating sacred sites, law and language for the Gunardba people. These elements now reside in spirit form at sites specific to the An-ngulin clan.
A strong vigorous flow and graphic boldness is characterised in England Banggala’s paintings and limited edition prints . The cross hatching is found within the figures and the schematic motifs of his work rather than in the background, as is more common to the Aboriginal art of Arnhem Land. The broad areas of colour, dotted subdivisions and plain background reflect England Banggala’s association with the Rembarrnga.
Rembarrnga Aboriginal art is not easily classifiable because most artists of this group paint in distinctly individual and different ways. The most likely reason for this divergence is geographical. The Rembarrnga speaking people own land over a vast area of south- estern and south-central Arnhem Land, some of it inaccessible and therefore isolated. This has caused each small group to develop their particular traditions somewhat differently. The art of the group as a whole shares common themes of water and stone country and spirit figures.
Banggala is a versatile artist who has also ventured successfully into lithography and other forms of European printmaking. As printmaker Theo Tremblay says of England Banggala: “He has an innate graphic ability, a natural response and feeling for composition. A wholistic approach where the background – a song, air, earth has as much to do with the image as what flows in it.” England Bangala passed way in 2001.
Subject & Themes
Ceremonial designs, designs associated with sites on clan lands, including jin-gubardabiya pandanus skirt and related dilly bag and mermaid designs, and ji-japum the snake creator being. Designs associated with the clan waterhole, mermaids and mermaid sites, the banaka digging stick’, birlimurra ‘leech’ and burichparr ‘weeping paperbark’ and lorrkon ‘hollow log coffin’. Other topics include the marrchila ‘estuarine crocodile’, rajarra ‘barramundi’ and the wulakarra ‘conical fishtrap’.
Aimee Proost Private collection, Qld.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth.
Central Collection, Australian National University, Canberra.
Christensen Collection, held Museum of Victoria, Melbourne.
David Betz Private collection, New York, USA, Djomi Museum, Maningrida.
1974 to 1976 Art of Aboriginal Australia, touring Canada, Rothmans of Pall Mall Canada Ltd.
1982 Aboriginal Art at the Top, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
1983 Artists of Arnhem Land, Canberra School of Arts.
1986 Painted Objects from Arnhem Land, University Drill Hall Gallery (Pod), Canberra, ACT.
1987 The Fourth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
1987 Esplanade Gallery, Darwin.
1988 Bulawirri / Bugaja a special place, NGV, Melbourne.
1988 Gochan Jiny-jirra artists, MOCA, Brisbane.
1989 A Myriad of Dreaming: Twentieth Century Aboriginal Art, Westpac Gallery, Melbourne; Design Warehouse Sydney [through Lauraine Diggins Fine Art]
1989 Aboriginal Art: The Continuing Tradition, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
1990 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.
1990 Balance 1990: views, visions, influences, travelling exhibition.
1990 Spirit in Land, Bark Paintings from Arnhem Land, National Gallery of Victoria.
1990 Keepers of the Secrets, Aboriginal Art from Arnhem land, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth.
1992 The Ninth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
1992/3 New Tracks Old Land: An Exhibition of Contemporary Prints from Aboriginal Australia, touring USA and Australia.
1993 Ten years of acquisitions, from ANU collection, Drill Hall Gallery ACT 1993, Australian Heritage Commission National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award Exhibition, Old Parliament House, Canberra.
1993/4 ARATJARA, Art of the First Australians, Touring: Kunstammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf; Hayward Gallery, London; Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, Denmark.
1994 Power of the Land, Masterpieces of Aboriginal Art, National Gallery of Victoria.
1994 Maningrida Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
1995 In the time before morning: Aboriginal Art. Jim Davidson Collection National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Vic.
1996 Maningrida Exhibition Indigenart, Subiaco, WA
1996 Maningrida Exhibition Raintree Fine Art Gallery, Darwin NT.
1996 Men of High Degree. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Vic.
1997 Dreamings: Aboriginal Art from Australia The Netherlands.
1997 22nd Shell Fremantle Print Award Fremantle WA.
1998 ACAF6 Exhibitions Building. Melbourne.
1998 Paperbarks Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne, Vic.
1998 Spirits of the Dreaming Jarraman Arts Aboriginal Corporation National Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Sydney NSW.
1998-9 A thousand Journeys Tin Sheds Gallery University of Sydney.
1999 16th NATSI Art Award Museum &Art Galleries of NT, Darwin.
1999 Fighting for Culture Indigenart, Perth, WA.
1999 Body paint show, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne Vic.
1999 16th NATSI Art Award Museum & Art Galleries of NT Darwin.
Butler, R., 1986, ‘From dreamtime to machine time,’ Imprint 21(3-4), 10. (C)
Caruana, W. (ed.), 1989, Windows on the Dreaming, Ellsyd Press, Sydney. (C)
Caruana, W., 1993, Aboriginal Art, Thames and Hudson, London. (C)
Diggins, L. (ed.), 1989, A Myriad of Dreaming: Twentieth Century Aboriginal Art, exhib. cat., Malakoff Fine Art Press, North Caulfield, Victoria.
1993, Aratjara, Art of the First Australians: Traditional and Contemporary Works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists, exhib. cat. (conceived and designed by Bernard Luthi in collaboration with Gary Lee), Dumont, Buchverlag, Koln. (C)
McCulloch, A., & McCulloch, S., 1994, The Encyclopedia of Australian Art, Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd, St Leonards, New South
Wales. McCulloch S, Contemporary Aboriginal Art: A Guide to the Rebirth of an Ancient Culture Allen & Unwin 1999
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