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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, north of Yuendumu, visiting Jangalas, his skin brothers.
His childhood memories consisted 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 remembered leaving Jila for Mt Theo 'to hide' from being shot. His father died at Mt Theo, after which Shorty and 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) was vital, yet upholding the Warlpiri tradition.
He lived at Yuendumu with his wife and fellow artist Lady Nungarrayi Robertson until he passed away in 2014.
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Water (Ngapa) , Rain, Acacia, Flying Ants, Emu
Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen and Canvas