Shorty Jangala Robertson

Shorty Jangala Robertson 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, and north of Yuendumu, visiting Jangala’s skin brothers.

Shorty’s childhood memories consist of stories associated with the Coniston massacre of Aboriginal people and the shooting of families at Wantaparri, which is close to Jila. Shorty had virtually no contact with white fellas during his youth but remembers leaving Jila for Mt Theo ‘to hide’ from being shot. After his father died at Mt Theo, Shorty moved with his mother to Mt Doreen Station, and subsequently the new settlement of Yuendumu.

It is extraordinary that in all his travels and jobs over his whole working life, Shorty escaped the burgeoning and flourishing Central Desert art movement of the 1970s and 1980s. 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 accomplished artist is an active member of Warlukurlangu Co operative. He lives at Yuendumu with his wife and artist Lady Nungarrayi Robertson.

Themes:
Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water)
Watiya- warnu Jukurrpa (Acacia Tenuissima)

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 Collections:
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

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