Art in profile

Abe Jangala<br/> <strong>Untitled</strong> 1996 <br/>Lithograph on Magnani Pescia paper <br/>50.5 x 30.5cm [image]; 70 x 50cm [paper] <br/>Collaborator: Leon Stainer <br/>Gifted by the artist and Northern Editions Printmaking Workshop, 2002 <br/>Charles Darwin University Art Collection – CDU2421

Abe Jangala

In August 1996, Abe Jangala attended the Kaltja Business Conference held at the then Northern Territory University Print Workshop with master printers Basil Hall and Leon Stainer. In 5 days, the Conference produced works by 45 different artists.

One of the prints created by Jangala during the Kaltja Business was an untitled lithograph printed in ochre. The print is characteristic of the artist’s style as the curved lines convey the abundant flow of water surrounded closely by soakages. The negative spaces represent the waterholes flooded with speckled rain drops.

The late Abe Jangala was a well-known figure of ritual authority and a respected elder in his community of Lajamanu. Jangala was born around 1919 in Kurlpurlurna near Thompson’s Rock, 350km south of Lajamanu in the Tanami Desert. Jangala was the ceremonial boss and senior rainmaker of Ngapa Jukurrpa (water-rain-cloud dreaming) around the widely dispersed sites in the Tanami Desert.

 After World War 2, Jangala joined his family at Yuendemu, however due to the culmination of conflict, overcrowding and an insufficient supply of water at the settlement, he later went on to Catfish, another settlement 600km to the north before ultimately residing in Hooker Creek (now Lajamanu).

During 1952 Abe Jangala contributed to anthropologist Mervyn Meggitt’s fieldwork about Warlpiri ceremonial life and ancestral knowledge. For 10 months Warlpiri men shared their knowledge through crayon drawings. During that period, Meggitt collected 169 drawings.

Abe Jangala was particularly praised by Meggitt for his artistic energy and was considered a ‘true artist’ who drew for pleasure. Jangala has said that ‘he paints the way his father tells him to paint as he comes to me in dreams’[1].

Many of Abe Jangala’s crayon drawings collected by Meggitt features in the current exhibition at the CDU Art Gallery, Warlpiri Drawings – Remembering the Future which is on display until the 23 October. Find out more about our current exhibition and upcoming public programs here.



[1] http://www.alcheringa-gallery.com/abie-jangala.html

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