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Artist Profile: Mparntwe-based artist Charles Jangala Inkamala.

 

The legacy of Albert Namatjira, one of Australia’s most celebrated artists, is to this day echoed in the work of painters hailing from Ntaria (Hermannsburg) in Central Australia. What’s really exciting is when these painters take Namatjira’s richly detailed, western-inspired watercolour style and build upon it, making new work that is distinctly their own. 

Words by Camilla Wagstaff, March 2022.

Emerging Mparntwe (Alice Springs)-based artist, Charles Jangala Inkamala, is one such shining example. We see reflections of Namatjira in Charles’ water colour-esque application of acrylic and in his confident use of ultramarine blue. But Charles’ playful use of depth takes it up a notch, seeing this vivid hue brought front and centre. 
Charles also boldly experiments with perspective in his paintings, combining aerial and ground views in the one stylised piece. His intricate line work captures the many facets of his ancient lands, summoning strong, wonderfully unique impressions of Country.

“I paint about my Country,” says the artist of his practice.

 

“Mount Sonder, Glen Helen, Hermannsburg. I paint mountains like Muntunda – that’s not far from Hermannsburg. My mother’s side is Papunya and my father’s side is Hermannsburg. Lots of family. I paint my Dreaming’s. Big Rock Dreaming’s, Snake Dreaming’s. Come from that way – long way – right up to Alice Springs. Blue Mountain, Mount Sonder, that’s my Dreaming – that’s my mother’s side and my grandmother’s.”

Image above: Charles Jangala Inkamala.

Banner image: Charles Jangala Inkamala in the studio, photo courtesy of Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists

Charles began painting with Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists in 2017. Established in 2000, the studio was the first in Australia to fill the space between supported studios and Aboriginal Art Centres. Bindi provides a means for Aboriginal artists living with a disability to develop and receive critical and financial recognition and for their art practices. Supported studio spaces are complimented by opportunities to show work nationally in public exhibitions, commercial galleries, design collaborations, art prizes and fairs. 
The Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists hail from communities from Kaltukatjara (Docker River) to Yuendumu, across the Central Desert. Many reside in Mparntwe (Alice Springs). For these artists, the process of painting is a pure expression of self and Country. They’ve been widely recognised by collectors and curators alike for their bold unapologetic works that uphold and celebrate personal and cultural identity.
Prior to painting at Bindi, Charles primarily worked with graphite and coloured pencil, coloured markers and ballpoint pen.

“Before, I was working for the council,” says Charles.

“I was working not painting. I was working with cattle, with them horses. I wasn’t a cowboy, I was with the Hermannsburg team, working out there.”

An exciting emerging artist and certainly one to watch, Charles was most recently recognised in the prestigious National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award in 2020 and the Vincent Lingiari Art Award in 2021. His work was also included in Desert Mob 30, an exciting annual showcase at Araluen Art Centre in Alice Springs.
With all this acclaim, Charles himself remains humble about his practice.

“I don’t know painting, I’m just learning. I’m just learning how to paint. I tell stories of my country through painting, and I like it. Connects me to family, too.”

Image above: Charles Jangala Inkamala painting outside.

Image below: Charles Jangala Inkamala painting outside, photo courtesy of Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists.

MORE TO COME

 

Thank you to Charles Jangala Inkamala for sharing his story as part of the ‘DAAFF Yarns’ series.  

You can see more of Charles’ work HERE and learn more about Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists HERE.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to subscribe as the series continues, and if you haven’t already, catch up on our last posts below.

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