Fitzroy Crossing | Hassall Collection

Janangoo Butcher Cherel – Ngarralja Tommy May – Wakartu Cory Surprise

Fitzroy Crossing | Hassall Collection focusses on the work of three significant artists from the Kimberley WA.

The exhibition includes 35 paintings spanning 1989 to 2019 by Janangoo Butcher Cherel (c1920 – 2009), Wakartu Cory Surprise (c1929 – 2011) and Ngarralja Tommy May (born 1935).

Wakartu and Ngarralja were both born and spent their early years on Country in the Great Sandy Desert, while Janangoo was brought up on a cattle station located on his ancestral homeland in the river country. They belong to three of the five different language groups who moved to Fitzroy Crossing after being forced off their land.

Aspects of river and desert country reverberate through their paintings, with Wakartu’s sweeps of colour suggesting vast views of sandhills and waterholes, while Janangoo’s pulsating patterns record flood waters receding or clusters of bush fruits. Ngarralja’s innovative works on enamelled aluminium, Perspex and canvas chart seasonal changes in vegetation and weather systems across Wangkajunga and Walmajarri country.

The paintings are on loan from the Hassall Collection, a private collection of 20th century and contemporary art, distinguished by the depth in which individual artists are represented.

Curated by Catherine Benz and Robert Hirschmann.

Exhibition dates: 29 February – 30 April, 2020

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Image: Wakartu Cory Surprise, Bimarral Jila 2009, acrylic on canvas, 178 x 236cm. Courtesy of Mangkaja Arts, Fitzroy Crossing.


  • February 28, 2020