aboriginal artist: Shorty Jangala Robertson

View artworks by Shorty Jangala Robertson

Shorty Jangala Robertson was born in the 1930’s and passed away in 2014. He was born at Jila (Chilla Well), a large soakage and claypan north west of Yuendumu. He lived a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle with his parents, older brother and extended Warlpiri family. They travelled vast distances across desert country, passing through Warlukurlangu, south west of Jila and Ngarlikurlangu, north of Yuendumu, visiting Jangalas, his skin brothers.

His childhood memories consist of stories associated with the Conniston Massacre of Aboriginal people and close to Jila, families were shot at Wantaparri.

Shorty Jangala Robertson had virtually no contact with white fellas during his youth but remembers leaving Jila for Mt Theo ‘to hide’ from being shot. His father died at Mt Theo and then with his mother moved to Mt Doreen Station, and subsequently the new settlement of Yuendumu

. During World War II, the army took people from Yuendumu to the other Warlpiri settlement at Lajamanu. Shorty was taken and separated from his mother. However she came to get him on foot, and together they traveled hundreds of miles back to Chilla Well.

Drought food and medical supplies forced Shorty and his family back to Yuendumu from time to time. His working life was full of adventure and hard work for different enterprises in the Alice Springs/Yuendumu area. He finally settled at Yuendumu in 1967 after the Australian Citizen Referendum.

It is extraordinary in all his travels and jobs over his whole working life, that he escaped the burgeoning and flourishing Central Desert art movement of the 1970’s and 1980’s. Thus Shorty’s paintings are fresh, vigorous and new. His use of colour to paint and interpret his dreamings of Ngapa (Water), Watiyawarnu (Acacia), Yankirri (Emu) and Pamapardu (Flying Ant) is vital, yet upholding the Warlpiri tradition. This fledgling artist well in his 70’s is an active member of Warlukurlangu Co-operative. He lives at Yuendumu with his wife and artist Lady Nungarrayi Robertson.

Solo Exhibitions
2003 First Solo Exhibition, A November lcaston Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2004 Coo-ee, Sydney, NSW
2005 Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2005 Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NT
2006 ‘Shorty Jangala Robertson’, Coo-ee, Sydney, NSW
2007 ‘Singing the rain’, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2011 ‘Shorty Jangala Robertson’, Kate Owen Gallery, NSW

Selected Group Exhibitions
2002 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne, VIC
2003 ‘Warlukurlangu Artists’, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2003 ‘All About Art’, Alcaston Gallery at Depot Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2003 ‘Kurruwarri Wirijarlu Big Story’ Hogarth Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2003 ‘Kurruwarri Pipangka Designs on Paper’ CDU Gallery, Charles Darwin
University NT October
2004 ‘Desert Mob’ Alice Springs Cultural Precinct, Araluen Arts Centre, NT
2004 ‘Painting Country’, Thornquest Gallery, QLD
2004 ‘Dreaming Stories’, Indigenart, Perth, WA
2004 ‘New Works from Yuendumu’, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane, QLD
2004 ‘Big Country’ Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NT
2004 ‘All About Art ‘ Annual Collectors Exhibition’, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2004 ‘Recent Works from Warlakurlangu’, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2004 ‘The Alice Prize’, Araluen Cultural Precinct, Alice Springs, NT
2005 ‘Warlukurlangu Group Show’, Beaver Gallery, Canberra, ACT
2005 ‘WAAA Collection’ Flinders Museum Adelaide, SA
2005 ‘Warlukurlangu Collection’, Araluen Galleries, Alice Springs, NT
2005 ‘Jukurrpa Wiri ‘Important Dreaming Stories’ Araluen Galleries, Alice Springs, NT April
2005 ‘Recent Works’, Short Street Gallery, Broome, WA
2005 ‘Luminous’, Northern Editions, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT
2005 ‘Big Country Exhibition’, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NT
2005 ‘Land of Diversity’, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2006 ‘Warlukurlangu Artists New Works’, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2006 ‘Warlukurlangu Artists – Recent Works’, Mason Gallery, Darwin, NT
2006 ‘Warlpiri Artists of Yuendumu’, Japingka Gallery, WA
2006 ‘Summer Evening’, Anne Snell Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2007 ‘Warlukurlangu – Aboriginal Art aus Yuendumu’, ArtKelch, Freiburg, Germany
2007 ‘Tiwa Ngurrara, Strangers?’ Artkelch, Freiburg, Germany
2007 ‘Desert Mob’, Baguette Gallery, Brisbane, QLD, in conjunction with Suzanne O’Connell Gallery May
2007 ‘Yuendumu & Kimberley, Twin Indigenous Show’, United Gallery, Sydney, NSW May
2007 ‘Couples, painting partners from Yuendumu & Nyirrpi’, Gadfly Gallery, Perth, WA June
2007 ‘Desert Dreamings: earth + water’, Artitja Fine Art, Perth, WA
2007 ‘Shalom Gamarada Aboriginal Art Exhibition’, Shalom College, Sydney, NSW
2007 ‘Water for Life’, Victorian Artists Society, World Vision Exhibition, Melbourne, VIC July
2007 ‘Above and Beyond’, Caruana & Reid Fine Art, Sydney, NSW
2007 ‘Contemporary Masters of the Central Desert’, SF Fine Art, Sydney, NSW
2007 ‘Above & Beyond’, Caruana Fine Art & Reid Mercantile, Sydney, NSW
2007 ‘The Best of the Best jewels of the desert’, Framed Gallery, Darwin NT
2007 ‘SIPA’, Seoul International Print, Photo & Edition Works Art Fair, Southern Exchange, S Korea
2007 ‘Australian Aboriginal Artists from the Central Desert’, Jeffrey Moose Gallery,
Seattle WA, USA November
2007 ‘Tiwa Ngurrara, Strangers?’, Artkelch, Freiburg, Germany
2007 ‘Aboriginal Printmakers NT & QLD’, Framed Gallery, Darwin
2007 ‘Stocking’, Artereal, Sydney, NSW
2007 ‘The Christmas Show’, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs NT
2007 ‘Warlukurlangu Artists’, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2008 ‘Les couleurs du desert australien’, L’Antidote, Geneva, Switzerland
2008 ‘Desert Mob’, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs, NT
2008 ‘Aboriginal Art aus der Central und Western Desert’, ArtKelch, Germany
2008 ‘Artists of Nyirripi & Yuendumu’, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA
2008 ‘Warlukurlangu Artists, the art of Yuendumu’, La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art, Bahrain UAE March
2008 ‘Opening Doors into Colourful Dreamtime’, ReDot Gallery, Singapore
2008 ‘Shalom Gamarada Aboriginal Art Exhibition’, Caspary Conference Centre, Sydney, NSW July
2008 ‘Representations of Country’, Artitja Fine Art, Perth, WA
2008 ‘Warlukurlangu Artists, Established & Emerging Artists’, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney, NSW August
2008 ‘New Directions’, Gecko Gallery, Broome, WA
2008 ‘Bush Tucker 08’, Arereal Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2008 ‘Desert Stories’, Artitja Fine Art, Perth, WA
2008 ‘Warlukurlangu Artists’, Beaver Gallery, Canberra, ACT
2008 ‘Warlukurlangu Wonders’, Warlpiri Paintings from Yuendumu, Art Mob, Tasmania November
2009 ‘Nyirripi & Yuendumu Artists’, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA
2009 ‘Value of Country’, ArtKelch, Freiburg, Germany
2009 ‘Centred Art’, Rotterdam, Netherlands
2010 ‘Exposition d’art aborigene d’Australie’, IDAIA and Galerie Princesse de Kiev, France October

Araluen Cultural Precinct, Alice Springs
Araluen Cultural Precinct, Alice Springs
Artbank, Sydney, NSW
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Flinders University Art Museum, Melbourne
Gordon Darling Foundation, Canberra
Private Collections

2006, ‘Football from Australia’s heart’, National Indigenous Times, Issue 29, vol. 2, April 16, 2003, p. 21

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