About the artwork: Wangarra
Wangarra are the devil-devil spirits that inhabit An-nguliny clan waterhole, called Wangarra A-juwana, in Central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. This etching depicts three Wangarra figures sharing arms which represent the water running from the little creeks, flowing out onto all corners of the patch of monsoonal forest. Wangarra spirits live inside banyan trees that sometimes open up and the spirits come out and go down into the water where they lie inside the rocks. The spirits can lure and trap people inside the banyan tree, which is the one reason why Wangarra A-juwana is a dangerous place for those who do not have the authority to be there. When England Bangala enters this place he calls out to his ancestors, to identify himself as a rightful member of the An-gnuliny clan, so that he and whoever accompanies him are proteced from the spirits that live there.
Text provided by Maningrida Arts & Culture
One of three prints England Bangala created in 1999.
- Limited edition etching on paper
- Edition: 99
- Editioned: August, 1999
- Size: 49 x 66 cm (image), 61.5 x 78.5 cm (paper)
- Paper: Hahnemuhle 350 gsm
- Printer & Studio: Jo Diggens, Northern Editions Darwin, NT
About the artist: England Bangala (Banggala)
England Bangala was born circa 1925 in central Arnhem Land and passed away in 2001. His traditional lands are in Central Arnhem Land and for many years he was a member of Maningrida Arts and Culture. In his later years he spent time with family in Gunbalanya (Oenpelli) in West Arnhem Land and painted for Injalak Arts. In Maningrida England painted exclusively on bark, however, in Gunbalanya he often used Arches Aquarelle watercolour paper.
His prints and paintings reflected the high status which he held in the traditional ceremonies of his community.
His pictorial style combines elements of the west and central Arnhem Land traditions. The organic forms he represents in his work often depict the elements of Gunardba women travelling across the land, creating sacred sites, law and language for the Gunardba people. These elements now reside in spirit form at sites specific to the An-ngulin clan.
A strong vigorous flow is characterised in Banggala’s work with its graphic boldness. The cross hatching is found within the figures and the schematic motifs of his work rather than in the background, as is more common to the art of Arnhem Land. The broad areas of colour, dotted subdivisions and plain background reflect Banggala’s association with the Rembarrnga language/tribal people. Rembarrnga art is not easily classifiable because most artists of this group paint in distinctly individual and different ways. The most likely reason for this divergence is geographical. The Rembarrnga speaking people belong to land over a vast area of south-western and south-central Arnhem Land, some of it inaccessible and therefore isolated. This has caused each small group to develop their particular traditions somewhat differently. The art of the group as a whole shares common themes of water and stone country and spirit figures.
During his life England was included in more than 40 group and solo exhibitions within Australia and overseas including in Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands. His artworks have been reproduced and referenced in numerous publications.
Provenance: This edition was created in partnership with Maningrida Arts & Culture and commissioned by the Australian Art Print Network. The artist was paid at the time of printing.
This artwork was distributed by the Australian Art Print Network.