Malcolm Jagamarra Maloney was born in 1955 at Aningie Station, near Central Mt Stuart. Malcolm describes himself as a Lander River Warlpiri. This traditional country is called Wantaparri and is some 60kms west of Willowra in the Tanami Desert. His mother is Minnie Napanangka and his father was Gerry Maloney, an Irish Stockman. Malcolm spent his early years living a traditional lifestyle on the land. He was taken away by the authorities at the age of 6, for being of mixed descent. It was then he travelled to Adelaide boys school, where he spent his early years in the city. In 1978 Malcolm returned to his homelands and began to learn his culture. He learnt the language of his people, the song, the dance, how to hunt malu and how to paint for ceremony. His principal dreamings are Wana (Snake), Walu (Fire), and Ngapa (Water).He also has family connections with Budgerigar, Seven Sisters and Goanna.
“It has given everyone a chance to learn about “Aboriginal Dreaming,” says Jagamarra. “Our art reflects not just the land but its mythology, song and dance.” The symbols are called “iconography” and are the oldest in the world.”
Jagamarra was the first Aboriginal artist to use oils on his paintings and he is the leader in his style. He is considered to be one of the most talented and dynamic Aboriginal artists working in Australia and has been instrumental in forging new directions for his art.
Michael Nelson Jagamarra
Michael Nelson Jagamarra, born 1949 in Pikilyi,Vaughan Springs, is a Senior Warlpiri Tribesman and Elder of the Papunya Community is central Australia. The son of an important tribal leader and medicine man, Jagamarra grew up "in the bush", observing the work of senior members and ultimately developing his own style of painting. He is known as a master painter for his ability to develop images which incorporate multiple elements of the Dreaming stories within a single painting.
Jagamarra was awarded the National Aboriginal Art Award in 1984 and has since exhibited in the 1986 Biennale of Sydney, was feautured in the British documentary "The State of the Art", was commissioned by the Sydney Opera House, and has been featured in several international publications. Author Viven Johnson wrote Jagamarra's biography, published in 1997, chronicling the artist's life including the social and political inspirations for his art.