Gabrielle Pizzi Collection, Melbourne
State of the Arts, Ideas and images in the 1980’s, Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Harris Museum and Art Gallery, May 1987 and touring.
Dreamings: The Art of Aboriginal Australia, Asia Society Galleries, New York, 6 October – 31 December, 1988, and at three other museums
Crossroads – Towards a New Reality: Aboriginal Art from Australia, The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, September 22-November 8 1992.The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, November 17-December 20 1992.
Aratjara: Art of the First Australians, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Cologne, 1993
Papunya Tula, Genesis and Genius, AGNSW, Sydney, 2000 Dates
Aborigena: Arte australiana contemporanea, Palazzo Bricherasio, Turin, 29 June-26 August 2001
Desert Art, Aboriginal Art Museum, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 2002
Mythology and Reality: Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Desert Art from the Gabrielle Pizzi Collection, The Jerusalem Centre for the Performing Arts, 21 October-19 December 2003
Mythology and Reality, Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Desert Art From the Gabrielle Pizzi Collection, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 2 October 2004 - 30 January 2005
SHOOSH! The History of The Campfire Group, Institute of Modern Art Brisbane, 2005
The Loaded Ground: Michael Nelson Jagamara and Imants Tillers, ANU Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra 2012, p.4, cat. No. 14, illus. p.13, (Catalogue illustration P4 as well as exhibition)
Mapping our world: Terra Incognita to Australia, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 7 November 2013 - 10 March 2014
Sandy Nairne et al., State of the Arts, Ideas and images in the 1980’s, Chatto & Windus Ltd in collaboration with Channel Four Television Company Limited, 1987, cover, illus.
Peter Sutton, Dreamings: The Art of Aboriginal Australia, George Braziller in association with Asia Society Galleries, New York, USA, 1988, cover and p.103, fig.143, cat.43
Hideo Tomiyama et al., Crossroads – Towards a New Reality: Aboriginal Art from Australia, The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, 1992, p.89, fig 61, illus.
Bernhard Lüthi et al., Aratjara: Art of the First Australians, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Cologne, 1993, p.256, fig 101, illus.
Johnson, V., Aboriginal Artists of the Western Desert, A Biographical Dictionary, Craftsman House, Roseville, NSW, 1994, pp.151-2
Vivien Johnson, Michael Jagamara Nelson, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1997 pp. 62-3, pl.18
Perkins, Hetti and Fink, Hannah, Papunya Tula, Genesis and Genius, AGNSW, Sydney, 2000, p.82.
Wally Caruana, Aboriginal Art, Thames and Hudson World of Art Series, Thames and Hudson, London, 2003, p.130, illus.
Achille Bonito Oliva, Aborigena, Electa, Milano, 2001, p 71, pl.57, illus.
Achille Bonito Olivia, Desert Art, Electa, Milano, 2002, p.71., pl.57, illus.
Achille Bonito Oliva and Gabrielle Pizzi, Mythology and Reality: Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Desert Art from the Gabrielle Pizzi Collection, Australia Israel Cultural Exchange, Jerusalem, 2003, p.53, illus.
Geoffrey Bardon, Judith Ryan, Gabrielle Pizzi, Zara Stanhope, Contemporary Aboriginal Desert Art From the Gabrielle Pizzi Collection, Mythology and Reality, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p.46
Stephen Farthing (ed.), Art: The Whole Story, Thames and Hudson, London, 2010
The Loaded Ground: Michael Nelson Jagamara and Imants Tillers, ANU Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra 2012, pp.12-15, p.4, cat. no. 14, illus.
McLean, I., Rattling Spears: A History of Indigenous Australian Art, London: Reaktion Books, 2016, p.157, plate 76, illus.
Throughout its exhibition history Five Stories has been exhibited and referred to with various titles including Possum Dreaming, Five Dreamings, Five Tjukurrpas, and Five Stories. The artist’s preferred title is Five Stories.
Michael Nelson was born at Pikilyi (Vaughan Springs) west of Alice Springs in the lands of the Warlpiri people. The area is a crossroads for several major ancestral song lines that Jagamara has the inherited rights to paint. Five of these are depicted in Five Stories: Pamapardu Jukurrpa (Flying Ant Dreaming) at Yuwinji is represented by the horizontal line bisecting the composition; the E-shaped tracks of the Possum ancestors travelling from Jangankurlangu to Mawarriji traverse the canvas diagonally from the lower left to the upper right, and then divide into two tracks that continue in a ‘westerly’ direction; the image of Wanampi the Rainbow Serpent at Yilkirdi meanders between sets of double bars that represent rain, indicating the Serpent’s association with rain-making; circles representing the Rain Dreaming at Mirawarri appear in the lower right of the painting adjacent to the tracks which the artist variously describes as Marlujarra (Two Kangaroo Men) at Yintarramurru or the Wallaby ancestor who witnessed a battle between Rainbow Serpents at Yilkirdi. The inherent complexity of depicting several narratives in one resolved composition owes much, according to the artist, to another Western Desert painter who was also at Papunya, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri (c.1932-2002).1 Between 1976 and 1979 Tjapaltjarri painted a series of monumental canvases that aimed to map his ancestral lands by integrating the sacred diagrams of Aboriginal ground paintings and the topographic conventions of European maps. This group includes Tjapaltjarri’s Warlugulong, 1977, in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.
In Five Stories, Michael Nelson Jagamara has introduced a number of pictorial innovations that distinguish the work from other, more conventional Western Desert acrylic paintings of the time. The graphic elements in the picture were outlined in yellow dots as opposed to the usual white to produce a scintillating visual effect akin to that of body painting in ceremony. In fact the black ground of the picture suggests black skin. The infill is constructed of dappled patches of colour as well as the usual arrays of dots. Yellow cloud-like forms contrast starkly against an even black ground in a triangular space in the lower left, reflected above in a blue wash covering the dotted field between the two meandering lines of possum tracks. In her monograph on Michael Nelson Jagamara, Vivien Johnson argues that such painterly devices render Five Stories ‘utterly original in relation to western [European] painting and the Papunya movement itself.’2
Michael Nelson first began to paint for the Papunya Tula Artists cooperative in 1983 after he had moved to the community on account of his wife Marjorie Napaljarri Nelson who became his painting assistant, preparing paints and infilling areas of colour. His career had a meteoric rise. In the year Five Stories was painted, Jagamara won the prestigious National Aboriginal Art Award after which one of his designs was selected from those submitted by a group of five Papunya artists for a mosaic to be installed in the forecourt of the new Parliament House that opened in Canberra in 1988. The design was based on a painting, Possum and Wallaby Dreaming, about the convergence of different ancestors in one place, a fitting analogy for the Australian seat of government. In 1987 Jagamara was commissioned to paint an 18 metre long mural, Possum Dreaming, for the Sydney Opera House, and in 1989 he was engaged by the BMW motor company to paint an M3 Le Mans racing car as part of the BMW Art Car Project. The project commenced in the 1970s with cars painted by Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and later Robert Rauschenberg amongst others. Warhol and Jagamara were the only two artists to physically hand-paint the cars and they both featured in the television documentary series on contemporary art, State of the Art: Ideas and Images in the 1980s produced by Channel Four in Britain. An exhibition drawn from works shown in the series, including Five Stories, opened at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London in 1987 and toured England.
1 Johnson, V., Michael Jagamara Nelson, Sydney: Craftsman House, 1997, pp. 61, 64.
2 ibid. 65.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale