Malcolm Jagamarra

To be Auctioned on July 25th 12 Noon

Tribe: Warlpirri
Area: Central & Western Desert
Born: Born 1955

Malcolm Jagamarra was born in the Australian outback in 1955. He is the son of Minnie Napanangka, a Warlpiri woman, and Gerry Maloney an Irish bushman. As a child Malcolm lived the traditional way of life and travelled the land on walkabout with his mother and family.

At the time, as part of the ‘Aboriginal Assimilation Program’, all Aboriginal children were taken from their families and placed in white environments. Because of this, Malcolm’s mother would hide him whenever they visited a white homestead.

At the age of six, Malcolm was discovered by the authorities and taken to Adelaide where he spent the next eighteen years. He matriculated from Adelaide Boys High School in 1972 and stared in League Football for North Adelaide until 1975. In 1978 Malcolm returned to Alice Springs and was reunited with his family for the first time since 1960. In 1983 Malcolm underwent manhood initiation ceremonies he had missed as a boy. It was then that he learnt the secret songs and dances of his tribe, the Lander River Warlpiri.

Malcolm’s art evolved from his tribe’s ceremonies. Aboriginal paintings were originally daubed on the ground and on the bodies of the people and were therefore not preserved. Since 1971 they have been preserved in the form of acrylic paint on canvas.

“It has given everyone a chance to learn about Aboriginal Dreamings”, 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.

Malcolm was the first Aboriginal artist to use oils on his paintings and he is the leader in his style. Malcolm 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 traditional arts.

In 1993 Malcolm was commissioned by Telecom Australia to create the paintings that appeared on a series of phonecards in celebration of the UN Year of the World’s Indigenous People.

In 2004 Malcolm was publicised for the painting of a cello for the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition.


Jardiwanpa (fire), Ngapa (water), Wardapi (Goanna), Warna ( snake), Wulyparrari (Milky Way), Yarriprir (Green Snake), Ngatijirri (Budgerigar), Napaltjarri-Warna (Seven Sisters), Marlu (Rock Kangaroo), Purruparnta (Frog), Ngarlkirdi (Tree Witchety Grub), Wanakiji and Yakajirri (Bush Tomato), Yarla (Bush Potato), Marnakiji (Bush Lantana), Marlpa (Bush Beans), Pirli- Ngawurrpa (Rock Wallaby)


1996 – Gauguin Gallery, Singapore
1996 – Nangara Exhibition, Belgium
1995 – Malcolm Jagamarra, Brisbane, QLD
1994 – Wagner Art Gallery, Hong Kong
1993 – Mendelson Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
1993 – Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, ALD
1992 – Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
1991 – Stuttgart Gallery, Stuttgart, Germany; Rebecca Hosack Gallery, London; Australian Aboriginal Art Gallery Vineyard, Germany; Barbara Gilman, Miami, Florida, USA; Malagra’s Gallery San Antonio, Texas, USA.
1991 – Bahti Indian Art Gallery, Tuscon, Arizona, USA
1991 – Throckmorton Gallery, Tuscon, Arizona, USA
1991 – Rosequist Gallery, Tuscon, Arizona, USA
1990 – Reichs Museum, The Netherlands


Australian Embassy, New York, USA
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW
Berkeley Editions, Australia
Professor Fishe Collection, Germany
The Kelton Collection, Santa Monica, USA
Corporate Designs:
Kellogs Australia
Hardy’s Wines, Australia
Duty Free Shoppers, Sydney, Australia
Telecom, Australia
Responsible Drinking Campaign, Northern Territory Government, Australia
Sandscapes, USA

Media Coverage

SBS Television, Australia
Channel 9, Wonder World, Australia
ABC 7:30 Report, Australia
Qantas Inflight Television, USA
Cable Network Television, USA
NTD8 Television, NT, Australia
The Bulletin (Newsweek), Australia
Telegraph Mirror, Melbourne, Australia
Antiques and Art Magazine, Australia
The Age Newspaper, Melbourne, Australia
Inside Melbourne, Sydney, Australia
2SER FM Sydney, Australia
The Australian Newspaper
Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia
Australian Koori Mail, Sydney, Australia
Australian Way, Qantas Inflight Magazine
The Age Newspaper, Special Edition, Melbourne, Australia

Book References

1988 – Unsung Heroes and Heroines of Australia, Baldwin,S (ed), Greenhouse Publications, Elwood, Victoria
1988 – A Myriad of Dreaming
1994 – Dictionary of Western Desert Artists, Vivian Johnson,Craftsman House, Roseville, NSW
1994 – Desert Dreamings, Ancient Icons
1994 – Nangara, The Australian Aboriginal Art Exhibition

Art Residences

1992 – Art Gallery of NSW;
1992 – Crystal Fahren Hoest Gallery, Hamelen, Germany
1993 – (October) – Mendelson Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, USA;
1993 – Club Med, Queensland, Australia
1993 – Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London, UK
1994 (January) – Global Colours, Sydney, Australia
1995 (April) – Youth Theatre, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

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