Michael Nelson Jagamarra

Born: c. 1946
Skin Name: Jagamarra
Region:  Northern Territory of Australia
Language: Warlpiri/Luritja
Subjects and Themes (Dreaming): Campsite Dreaming, Kangaroo Dreaming …

Michael Nelson began to paint regularly in 1983 and in 1984 won First Prize in the Inaugural National Aboriginal Art Award, now known as the Telstra NATSSIA Award. In 1987 an 8.2 metre painting by Michael was installed in the foyer of the Sydney Opera House. His design of a mosaic which was laid in the forecourt of Parliament House in Canberra, further enhanced his standing as a master painter. In 1993 Michael Nelson Jagamarra was awarded an Order of Australia medal for his service to the arts.

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The Aboriginal artist Michael Nelson was born at Pikilyi (Vaughan Springs). As a young boy growing up, he was taught sand and body painting and painting on shields by his grandfather. For a time Michael lived with his family at Haasts Bluff before moving to Yuendumu where he attended the mission school. He was initiated at the age of 13 years and left school soon after to work as a buffalo shooter, cattle drover and truck driver, finally settling in Papunya in 1976 where he met and married his wife, Marjorie.

At Papunya, Michael observed the older artists, painting. He himself started to regularly paint in 1983 and already in 1984 won First Prize in the Inaugural National Aboriginal Art Award, now known as the Telstra NATSSIA Award. In 1987 an 8.2 metre painting by Michael was installed in the foyer of the Sydney Opera House. His design of a mosaic which was laid in the forecourt of Parliament House in Canberra, further enhanced his standing as a master painter. In 1993 Michael Nelson Jagamarra was awarded an Order of Australia medal for his service to the arts.

Michael’s country lies at the intersection of many major Dreaming paths. Painting traditional designs and patterns in dot-style, his compositions are visually powerful, complex and bold. Often incorporating several Dreamings in the one painting, his works are an aerial-view map of his country with sacred sites, landforms, plants and animals represented by symbols which serve as an expression and communication of culture and sacred knowledge.

Michael’s paintings are keenly sought by collectors in Australia and overseas. His works have been exhibited widely and are held in major public, corporate and private collections throughout the world.  View also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Nelson_Tjakamarra for more information.

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Paintings by Michael Nelson Jagamarra: