Shorty Jangala Robertson
Years 1930 -
locality Yuendumu NT
Region: Tanami Desert
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 Jangala’s, his skin brothers. His childhood memories consist of stories associated with the Coniston 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 remembers leaving Jila for Mt Theo ‘to hide’ from being shot. His father died at Mt Theo and then with 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) is vital, yet upholding the Warlpiri tradition. This fledgling artist well in his 70’s is an active member of Warlukurlangu Co-operative. He lives at Yuendumu with his wife and artist Lady Nungarrayi Robertson.
- 2010 – Circles in the Sand : Aboriginal Art from Central Australia in the Kluge-Ruhe Collection featuring works by: Anatjarri No. III Tjakamarra, Bai Bai Napangati, Bessie Nakamarra Sims, Brandy Tjungurrayai, Dolly Nampijinpa Daniels, Eubena Nampitjin, Jack Jakamarra Ross — Paddy Japaljarri Stewart, Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula, Michael Jagamara Nelson, Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri, Millie Skeen Nampitjin, Muntja Nungurrayai, Nancy Naninurra Napanangka, Paddy Jupurrula Nelson, Patrick Olodoodi Tjungurrayai, Rosie Nanyuma Napurrula, Sandy Gordon Tjupurrula, Sarah Napanangka, Shorty Jangala Robertson, Ted Egan Jangala, Timmy Payungka Tjapangati, Tjumpo Tjapanangka, Tommy Skeen Tjakamarra, Walangkura Napanangka, WARLUKURLANGU ARTISTS (Karrku Jupurra), William Sandy, Wintjiya Napaltjarri at the Embassy of Australia, Washington DC, USA.
- 2010 – Emerging Elders, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
- 2009 – En_trance – Experience and Sensation in Nomadic Art, including the following artists: Alice Michaels Nampijinpa, Alma Nungarrayi Granites, Anmanari Napanangka, Bessie Nakamarra Simms, Emily Kngwarreye, Eubena Nampitjin, Eunice Napanangka Jack, Helen McCarthy Tyalmuty, Jeannie Napangardi Lewis, Jimmy Baker, Jimmy Nerrimah, Judy Napangardi Watson, Liddy Napanangka Walker, Lola Nampijnpa Brown, Mary Anne Nampijinpa Michaels, Mary Napangardi Brown, Minnie Pwerle, Ormay Nangala Gallagher, Paddy Lewis Japananagka, Paddy Simms Japaltjarri, Peggy Nampijinpa Brown, Rosie Nangala Fleming, Shorty Jangala Robertson, Walangkura Napanangka, at Coo-ee Aboriginal Art Gallery, Sydney.
- 2008 – New works from Yuendumu and Balgo, featuring the following artists: Elizabeth Nyumi, Eubena Nampitjin, Judy Napangardi Watson, Kudditji Kngwarreye, Mary Anne Nampijinpa Michaels, Raymond Maxwell Tjampitjinpa, Sarah Daniels, Sarah Morton Kngwarrey, Shorty Jangala Robertson, Theresa Nowee, Winifred Nanala, at Coo-ee Aboriginal Art Gallery, Sydney.
- 2008 – Warlukurlangu Arts, Yuendumu, featuring the following artists: Mary Anne Nampijinpa Michaels; Paddy Japaljarri Sims; Shorty Jangala Robertson; Mickey Jampitjinpa Singleton; Paddy Japaljarri Stewart; Bessie Nakamarra Sims; Ena Nakamarra Gibson; Ruth Napaljarri Stewart; Peggy Nampijinpa Brown; Ormay Nangala Gallagher; Walter Jangala Brown; Liddy Napanangka Walker; Margaret Napangardi Brown; Otto Jungarrayi Sims; Karen Napaljarri Barnes, at Hogarth Gallery, Sydney.
- 2008 – Summer Show, featuring works by Timothy Wulanjbirr; Terry Ngamandara; Janelle Stockman Napaltjarri; Polly Ngale Queenie Lion Kemarre; Liddy Walker Napanangka; Betsy Lewis; Shorty Jangala Roberstson; Nancy Nuggurayi Gibson; Paddy Japaljarri Stewart; Paddy Japaljarri Sims; Bessie Sims; Molly Napaltjarri Jugadai; Madigan Thomas; Nancy Nodea; Marika Patrick; Shirley Purdie; Betty Carrington; David Cox; Mabel Juli; Lisa Michl; Sally Morgan; Bronwyn Bancroft; Jimmy Moduk; Francis Rriki; Philip Gudthaykudthay; Silas Hobson; Fiona Omeenyo; Rosella Namok; Samantha Hobson; Maria Butcher; Moira Macumboy; Dottie Hobson; Elizabeth Giblet; Doris Platt; Sam Juparulla Gibson; Veronica Collins; Lily Hargreaves Nungarrayi, at Hogarth Gallery, Sydney.
- 2007 – Senior Couples of the Western Desert, Gadfly Gallery, Dalkeith, WA.
- 2006-2007 – Gifted: Contemporary Aboriginal Art: The Mollie Gowing Acquisition Fund, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
- 2006 – The second Shalom Gamarada Aboriginal Art Exhibition, Shalom College, University of New South Wales, Sydney.
- 2005 – Warlukurlangu Artists from Yuendumu, NT, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney.
- 2004 – Little Warlu, Big Stories, Hot little paintings from big artists of Yuendumu, NT and Outback Centre, Sydney; Painting Country, Thornquest Gallery, Queensland; Dreaming Stories, Indigenart, Perth; New Works from Yuendumu, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane; All about art, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.
- 2003 – Warlukurlangu Artists, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne; All About Art, Alcaston Gallery at Depot Gallery, Sydney; Kurruwarri Wirijarlu – Big Story, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney; Kurruwarri Pipangka – Designs on Paper, CDU Gallery, Charles Darwin University NT; True Blue Christmas
- 2003, Framed Gallery, NT.
- 2002 – Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne.
2007 – Shorty Jangala Robertson – Singing in the Rain, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.
2006 – Rainmaker Rhythms – new works by Shorty Jangala Robertson, Cooee Aboriginal Art, Sydney.
2005 – Ngapa – new paintings on canvas, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.
2004 – Ngapa Jukurrpa-Water Dreaming, Cooee Aboriginal Art, Sydney.
- Araluen Cultural Precinct, Alice Springs Artbank, Sydney, NSW
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
- National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
- National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
- Flinders University Art Museum, Melbourne
- Gordon Darling Foundation, Canberra
- Private Collections
- Artbank, Sydney, NSW.