FROM THE STUDIO, a comprehensive survey exhibition of MNJ’s Brisbane studio based
1996-2008 practice will open on Tuesday 12 August and will continue to Saturday 27 September.

Doug Hall, in the exhibition catalogue Foreword states: Michael Nelson Jagamara’s most traditional paintings were done on the occasions he left Papunya and visited Brisbane. He all but abandoned the familiar dot style, and his single-image paintings were seen as an idiosyncratic incursion into Australian modernism at a time when Aboriginal art and the idea of lyrical expressionism might be regarded as opposites. Doug Hall will open the exhibition and launch the catalogue.

Twelve new paintings completed in 2008 will be featured in the exhibition, alongside transitional works from 1997 and 1998. A further twenty key works (paintings, works on paper and sculpture) will be displayed showcasing stylistic shifts and painterly developments.

MNJ, a senior Warlpiri artist, was born in 1946 in Pikilyi (Vaughn Springs). In May 2008, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate, University of New South Wales.
In 1984, MNJ won the inaugural National Aboriginal Art Awards (now Telstra National Indigenous Art Awards). This followed with selection for the 1986 Sydney Biennale; the Opera House Bicentenary Commission in1987 for a major canvas measuring 20 meters; The New Parliament House Forecourt Mosaic commission in Canberra in 1988; and the BMW Art Car commission in 1989. Not a bad start in your first few years of work!
Two exhibitions in 1999 marked the reinvention of MNJ: Without the Story, the Painting is Nothing at Brisbane City gallery and New Expressions at fireworks gallery.

When MNJ was selected for inclusion in the 3rd Asia-Pacific Triennial at QAG in 1999, Sally Butler wrote: There is a twenty-first-century spirituality about these paintings that make the future look bright, and just a little crazy¦.To a certain degree, Nelson has attained the urban fantasy of having the best of both worlds. (2000. ˜˜Michael Nelson Tjakamarra: Unmasked’. Australian Art Collector, 13: July-September 88“90.)

MNJ continues to makes the salient point that, whilst his choice of colours, materials and appearance are continually being reformatted, his stories have never changed! Familiar designs include: Yam Dreaming, Rain and Lightning Strikes, Kangaroo, Site and Possum Love Stories.

Another feature of the exhibition is the 2008 collaborative work Fatherland with Imants Tillers. Consisting of 90 multi layered canvas-boards, the painting represents the seventh work in their well documented collaborative series begun in 2001. MNJ’s decision to paint a replica of his infamous Five Dreamings from 1984 brings full circle the calamity of academic responses and political outcry which arose when components of this original work were appropriated and re-contextualised in Tillers’ The Nine Shots 1985. In some ways Fatherland might be seen as a remix of The Nine Shots, but this time with both the hand and the heart of MNJ on side!

The exhibition catalogue documents Workshop and Exhibition history, extracts from texts by Vivien Johnson and Simon Wright plus key quotes. Over 100 colour images are included.

MNJ works are held in numerous public, corporate and private collections in Australia and overseas.

MICHAEL NELSON JAGAMARA: FROM THE STUDIO experimental + collaborative works 1996 “ 2008
fireworks gallery 52a Doggett Street Newstead
Tuesday – Friday 10am till 6pm; Saturday 10am till 4pm
MEDIA: For images & interviews contact Michael Eather 0418 192 845


Artist: michael nelson jagamara

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Gallery: FireWorks gallery ,