Australian "bark" painting, the painting itself (not including the panel to which it is mounted) measuring 25 1/2" by 11 1/2", bearing reverse label showing this to be a work of the well-known artist and respected tribal elder ENGLAND BANGALA (1925-2001). The handwritten label shows his age as 42, so this would have been created in 1967 or thereabouts. The label gives Bangala's tribe and tells the story of what we see: "The families have been hunting & caught a bream & 2 snakes . Some are sleeping about a fire & 3 others including one with a short leg are sitting near 2 water holes". This charming description, especially the "short leg" issue, certainly adds to the appeal of this fine work. Bangala's biography is impressive, his work included in major museum collections, and the subject of numerous exhibitions. It appears at auction in dedicated sales of Aboriginal Art in Australia. He was from Arnhem Land in the far north of tropical Australia, east of Darwin.
Born: 1925 c.
Community Centre: Maningrida, Central Arnhem Land
Outstation or Country: Gochan Jiny-jirra (Cadell Gardens)
Language: Burarra, Gun-nartpa dialect
Local Group (clan): An-nguliny
Social Affiliations: Yirricha moiety, Ngarrich subsection
Bark painting, ochres on bark, carving, carved and
painted wooden sculpture, hollow log coffin, lithography,
1992, Half Fellowship, from the Aboriginal Arts Unit of the Australia Council for the Arts.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth.
Central Collection, Australian National University, Canberra.
Christensen Collection, held Museum of Victoria, Melbourne.
Djomi Museum, Maningrida.
Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Surfers Paradise, Queensland.
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Maningrida Collection, Sydney.
Museum of Victoria, Melbourne.
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
The Holmes a Court Collection, Perth.
1974 to 1976, Art of Aboriginal Australia, touring Canada,
Rothmans of Pall Mall Canada Ltd.
1982, Aboriginal Art at the Top, Museum and Art Gallery of the
Northern Territory, Darwin.
1983, Artists of Arnhem Land, Canberra School of 1986, Painted
Objects from Arnhem Land, University Drill Gallery (Pod),
1987, The Fourth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum
and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
1987, Esplanade Gallery, Darwin.
1988, Bulawirri / Bugaja a special place, NGV, Melbourne.
1988, Gochan Jiny-jirra artists, MOCA, Brisbane.
1989, A Myriad of Dreaming: Twentieth Century Aboriginal Art,
Westpac Gallery, Melbourne; Design Warehouse Sydney [through
Lauraine Diggins Fine Art]
1989, Aboriginal Art: The Continuing Tradition, National Gallery
of Australia, Canberra
1990, Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South
1990, Balance 1990: views, visions, influences, travelling 1990,
Spirit in Land, Bark Paintings from Arnhem Land, National
Gallery of Victoria.
1990, Keepers of the Secrets, Aboriginal Art from Arnhemland, Art
Gallery of Western Australia, Perth.
1992, The Ninth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum
and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
1992/3, New Tracks Old Land: An Exhibition of Contemporary Prints
from Aboriginal Australia, touring USA and Australia.
1993, Ten years of acquisitions,from ANU collection, Drill Hall
1993, Australian Heritage Commission National Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Art Award Exhibition, Old Parliament
1993/4, ARATJARA, Art of the First Australians, Touring:
Kunstammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf; Hayward Gallery,
London; Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, Denmark.
1994, Power of the Land, Masterpieces of Aboriginal Art, National
Gallery of Victoria.
1994, Maningrida Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
Butler, R., 1986, 'From dreamtime to machine time,'
Imprint (3-4), 10. (C)
Caruana, W. (ed.), 1989, Windows on the Dreaming, Ellsyd Press,
Caruana, W., 1993, Aboriginal Art, Thames and Hudson, London. (C)
Diggins, L. (ed.), 1989, A Myriad of Dreaming: Twentieth Century
Aboriginal Art, exhib. cat., Malakoff Fine Art Press, North
1993, Aratjara, Art of the First Australians: Traditional and
Contemporary Works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Artists, exhib. cat. conceived and designed by Bernard Luthi in
collaboration with Gary Lee), Dumont, Buchverlag, Koln. (C)
McCulloch, A., & McCulloch, S., 1994, The Encyclopedia of
Australian Art, Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd, St Leonards, New South
O'Ferrall, M., 1990, Keepers of the Secrets, Aboriginal Art from
Arnhemland in the Collection of the Art Gallery of Western
Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth. (C)
Ryan, J., 1990, Spirit in Land, exhib. cat., National Gallery of
1974, Art of Aboriginal Australia, exhib. cat., Rothmans of Pall
Mall Canada Limited. (C)
© Discovery Media, Documentation Pty Ltd, and the Australian
Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
This artist was born around 1926 and raised at an isolated
outstation of Maningrida called Gochan Jiny-jirra on the Cadell
River in Central Arnhem Land.
He attended Milingimbi Methodist Mission school spasmodically when
he was young, and later worked as a farmer and carpenter at his
lonely outstation, sometimes he went to Oenpelli to earn money as a
buffalo shooter. Eventually Bangala married his promised girl
wife and fathered 4 boys and 3 girls.
England is a fully initiated elder of his tribe and a foremost
recorder on bark and on Arches Rives paper of the history and
religion of his ancestors. He is always at the forefront of
tribal ceremonies because of his wisdom and knowledge. He was
taught to paint by his father, also a famous bark painter, but
none of his sons have gone through their age-grading ceremonies
and therefore have not been allowed to paint, so that his unusual
style will die out with him.
The art of Bangala is hanging in major art galleries and museums
and is featured in authentic art books. He has exhibited in most
Australian states, and has also travelled with dance groups as a
talented performer singing and dancing in the traditional tribal
See other aboriginal works in my shop.