One of Central Australia's Grand Old Masters and highly respected artists
Michael Nelson Jagamarra
Region: Pikilyi (Vaughan Springs) Western Desert
Country: Mt Singleton, Pikilyi
Language Bloc: Warlpiri, Luritja
Social Affiliations:Jakamarra subsection
Subjects and Themes:
Possum, Snake, Two Kangaroos, Flying Ant, Yam, Rainbow Serpents.
1984, First Prize, Inaugural National Aboriginal Art Award,
Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences, Darwin;
1993, Visual Arts/Crafts Board Fellowship;
1987, Sydney Opera House, 27 foot long painting, for foyer;
1988, designer of Mosaic for forecourt of new Parliament House, Canberra;
1989, BMW Art Car Project, painted M3 Racing Car
Parliament House in Canberra.
(Photo: Michael Nelson Jagamarra. By Vivien Johnson)
Aboriginal art can now be seen in our capital city in a form in
which it is both useful and permanent. The granite mosaic pavement
in the open forecourt of the new Parliament House in Canberra was
designed by Michael Nelson Tjakamarra. It represents our ancient
continent and our oldest civilisation.
Michael's painting displayed in the foyer of the Sydney Opera House
(Photo courtesy Sydney Opera House Trust & Vivien Johnson)
Grew up in the bush without clothes and remembers hiding in fear upon seeing a white man for
the first time. Attended mission school at Yuendumu, leaving at thirteen after his initiation
and worked as a buffalo shooter in Kakadu (east of Darwin), driving trucks, droving cattle and
in the army before settling down with his wife Marjorie at Papunya where he worked in the
government store and the Council. Observing the older artists he began to paint regularly in
1983. In 1985 he painted 'Five Stories' which went on to become the most reproduced work of
Australian art during the 80's. Michael's works are highly sought after and have been featured
in many publications.
(Aboriginal Artists of the Western Desert. By Vivien Johnson)