In this painting Malcolm depicts the creation of the Lander River system running through his tribes Pirla Warna Warna country some 300 kilometres West of Alice Springs. He is responsible for all the water and river systems running through his country. It includes elements and stories from subsections of his family. The central section represents his brother in law, the owl. The goanna’s are his mothers dreaming, they emerged at Wycliffe and travelled all the way to Purtula (Mt Theo).
Malcolm Jagamara was born at Aningie Station near Central Mount Stuart in 1955. As a child he travelled the land on walkabout with his mother, Minnie Napanangka, a Warlpiri woman from Willowra who instilled in him the traditional values of Aboriginal life and culture.
At the time, as part of the ‘Aboriginal Assimilation Program’ all part-Aboriginal children were taken forcibly from their families and placed within white environments. In fear of losing her son, Jagamara’s mother would hide him in the bush whenever they visited a white homestead. At the age of six, he was discovered by the authorities and taken to Adelaide where he spent the next eighteen years. He matriculated from Adelaide Boys High School in 1972 and starred in league football for North Adelaide until 1975.
In 1978 he returned to his country, Willowra and was reunited with his family for the first time since 1960. In 1983 Jagamara underwent the initiation ceremonies into manhood that he missed as a boy. It was then that he learned the sacred songs and dances of his people, the Lander River Warlpiri. Jagamara’a art evolves from these ceremonies. He is considered one of the most talented and dynamic Aboriginal artists working in Australia.