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Abie Jangala – Rainbow Men II

$550.00 inc. GST

Etching created by senior artist and ceremonial law man Abie Jumbyinmba Jangala (dec), a Warlpiri Artist who lived in Lajamanu in the Northern Territory of Australia.

The subject matter is a Jukurrpa (Dreaming or ancestral creation story) relating to the Rain/Water ancestors (more details below). The print has an extraordinary texture of tiny raised dots that represents the balls of plant fibre used in ground paintings during ceremonies to emphasise the solid designs lines – that convey the story of the Jukurrpa.

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About the artwork: 


  • Limited edition etching on paper
  • Edition: 99
  • Editioned: January 2003
  • Size: 54 x 74 cm (image), 56 x 76 cm (paper)
  • Paper: Magnani 350 gms (TBC)
  • Printer & Studio: Basil Hall, Basil Hall Editions Darwin NT

About the artwork: 

The artist was, until his death, the most senior Warlpiri man in Lajamanu for this Jukurrpa (Dreaming). The Rain story and that of the old women are interrelated and provide the scenario for many Yilpinji (love magic songs). Abie’s image shows body adornment designs used to represent Ngapa (water, rain). Pairs of parallel lines representing clouds surround two rainbows (ling wavy lines). Amongst their neighbours, the Kayetj people these symbols represent the two Rainbow Men.

Diane Bell, in her seminal book, ‘Daughters of the Dreaming’, explains that in the narrative the wise rain father, known as Junkaji, attempts to restrain his overly pretentious sons the Rainbow Men. The boys come in to conflict with their older brother, Lightning, while pursuing young girls to whom they are incestuously related. Rain’s wife, the mother of the boys, finally lures them from the dangers of their exploits by feigning illness. Their duty to their mother overwhelms them and they return at the insistence of their father, only to die. Important themes of father/son authority flouted and mother duty/devotion/destruction are all revealed through the recounting of this Dreaming. During ritual re-enactment the Rainbow Men embody the alluring attributes that can make a woman leave her own country despite her fierce attachment to it and follow her man far away to his own land. In ceremonies such as these, men imitate the sparkling, bedazzling qualities of the Rainbow Men by wearing shiny belt buckles or carrying pieces of broken glass, which shimmer and reflect the sun. These are qualities that attract women during ceremony just as women cover themselves in red ochre rubbed into animal fat so they themselves glisten and radiate good health in order to attract a man.

About the artist: Abie Jumbyinmba Jangala

Abie Jangala was born in the bush in the vicinity of Thompson’s Rock about 350 kilometres south of Lajamanu.

After the war Jangala joined his family at Yuendumu, an Aboriginal reserve specifically created to accommodate the increasingly displaced Warlpiri population; later he was moved to a second Warlpiri settlement at Catfish, 600 kilometres to the north.

Despite these moves, at 16 years of age Jangala returned to the land of his birth to undergo his traditional initiation. Abie Jangala lived at Lajamanu in the Northern Territory since the early 1950s and was a strong and highly respected elder of this Warlpiri community. He was a man of great ritual authority, ceremonial boss for water-rain-cloud and thunder Jukurrpa (Dreamings) centred on widely dispersed sites in the Tanami Desert.

He said he painted the way his father told him to paint as “he comes to me in dreams”. His work is noted for its striking dense white dotting over a base colour and simple bold linear designs symbolising the graphic quality of the desert. The elements of thunder, lightning and rain which underpin the belief system of the nomadic Warlpiri people, resonate powerfully in a field of white dots.

Abie Jangala became a painter in 1983 and soon his work began to be exhibited in group shows in Australia, the USA and Europe. His work is represented in museum collections all over Australia and in a number of important international collections.

Subject & Themes

Ngapa – water dreaming, Frog Dreaming, rain, cloud thunder


  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
  • Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth.
  • National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
  • Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide.
  • Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
  • The Holmes a Court Collection, Perth.
  • The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, USA
  • Thomas Vroom Collection, The Netherlands
  • Bromberg Collection, Cincinatti USA
  • Kaplan Levi Collection Seattle USA
  • Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
  • Flinders University Art Museum

Jangala was born circa 1919 and died in 2002.

Provenance: This edition was created in partnership with Lajamanu artists through Australian Art Print Network. The artist was paid at the time of printing.

This artwork was distributed by the Australian Art Print Network.