Jagamara in front of ‘Patherland’ (2008), a collaborative work between Imants Tillers and himself. Photo by Mick Richards
Jeremy Eccles | 11.10.20
Author: Jeremy Eccles
News Source: Research
The death was announced last night in Alice Springs of lead desert artist Michael Nelson Jagamara.
The Warlpiri man was not among the first in Papunya to take to the canvas when the art movement took off there in 1972. He observed older men closely and waited until 1983 to begin painting. in his own name. But, almost immediately, he was a star, winning the first National Aboriginal Art Award (now the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards or Telstra NATSIAAs) in 1984 with the intricate work, ‘Three ceremonies’.
By the end of that decade, Jagamara had provided a major work for the Sydney Opera House’s North Foyer, designed the mosaic forecourt for Canberra’s new Parliament, appeared both at the Sydney Biennale and at the Seminal ‘Dreams‘in New York (providing the catalog cover), and spent a month hand-painting a BMW race car in a series with Andy Warhol!
that of JagamaraPossum and Wallaby Dreaminghe mosaic in the House of Parliament was later the subject of the artist’s most political statement. In 1993, in protest against the shows of native titles, he attempted to remove the centerpiece of the work, knowing that this would speak of his plight to fellow initiates.
Unlike many Papunya-based artists who moved west in the 1980s to settle in the traditional land of the Pintupi, Jagamara stayed on the Papunya side and in 2009 became the founding artist of the new center. art Papunya Tjupi. His painting was then no longer in the meticulous style he was famous for – he had radically simplified his imagery to produce bold single-frame canvases in high contrast colors (including black and white) of his motif. lightning or a kangaroo print.
And, in a magnificent project to maintain the income of the old man, his merchant and Brisbane friend, Michael Eather had the lightning motif translated into three dimensions – small and large steel and bronze sculptures from the local factory. of Urban Art Projects.
In recognition of his superior status to Papunya in 2012, the NT Indigenous Areas Protection Authority engaged him as a consultant to a five-person curatorium to determine which of the first Papunya panels held by the Museum & Art Gallery of the NT should be available for public display. This led to his co-curation of the important ‘Tjungungutja: to have been together’ exhibition in Darwin and Alice Springs.
In 2016, Telstra honored the inaugural NAAA Laureate by using his art to publicize that year’s Telstra NATSIA Awards. A selection of car doors emblazoned with his art hit Martin Place in Sydney. His use of car doors as a canvas could, of course, be a reference to the iconic Yuendumu Doors – full-size painted school doors that presented the Warlpiri youth of this township with the ceremonial imagery their elders hoped they would inherit. . Jagamara himself was educated in Yuendumu until the age of 13, although he was too young to have benefited from these later works of art. But his subsequent initiation certainly enabled him to understand the transmission role of his tribal elders.
In the ‘Dreams‘catalog, he said:’ You have to be ready for the canvas, the paint and the brush. Well, first you have to ask your father (who owns the dream of a particular piece of country) and kurdungurlu (his guardian) and they will say to you, “You are having that dream over there, which belongs to your father and your grandfather ”. They will give you a hint, they will show you a drawing on the ground first. You have it in your brain now. You know this because you saw your father (at a ceremony) with this painting on his body and one on the ground. You will see it, then you will know it ”.
In 2016, Sotheby’s set the record for selling an Aboriginal artwork by a living artist, when Jagamara’s “Five stories” (1984) brought in £ 401,000 in London, doubling its high estimate. “Five Stories” had also been a favorite subject for non-Native artist Imants Tillers, who first appropriated it in 1985 without Jagamara’s knowledge. It seems that Tillers saw “a certain fate in Aboriginal art” as a response to the “moral vacuum in Western culture” after WWII.
Subsequently, the two artists became friends – exchanging around 20 “credits” between Papunya and Cooma in the years 2001-17 with encouragement from Jagamara dealer Michael Eather.
Some solace in all this postmodernism can be found in quotes from a book titled “Art: The Whole Story” from 2010. It would appear that the Aboriginal art of Papunya is Australia’s only contribution to the world. world art history between 75,000 BC. and today, and that of Jagamara ‘Five stories‘is presented and analyzed as a major subject of appropriation.
Michael Jagamara was busy until the end, only a week ago we wrote that his artwork was being shown on a BMW in support of the Sunshine Coast Art Prize.
” delicious ” Dig it ” reddit ” Google ” Tripping over ‘ Technorati ” Facebook
The meticulous “Five Stories” of 1984 – just one year in Jagamara’s career as a painter.
Jagamara (far right) with ‘Tjungungutja’ curatorium – Bobby West, Long Jack Phillipus (also deceased this year) and Sid Anderson