Fine Art Australia

Walangari Karntawarra


Walangari Wangardi Karntawarra Jakmarra, also known as Colin McCormack, was born in Alice Springs in 1961. He is of the Arrernte, Luritja, Walpiri, Yankuntjatjarra, Pintubi and Alyawarre peoples of the Central and Western Desert.

Walangari has held many executive positions and directorships of various Aboriginal Councils. He chaired CAAMA (the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Associations), the first Aboriginal owned radio station and was a director of the first Aboriginal television station, Imparja. He is committed to improving the lot of his people and helping ensure that the voice of Aboriginal Australia is heard.

He has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education degrees and an Associate Diploma of Aboriginal Education. Walangari has designed and conducted his own very successful cross-cultural course at the Institute of Aboriginal Development in Alice Springs. The course was attended by many overseas and local professionals and students. Like the course, Walangari sees his paintings as a form of communication between cultures.

Walangari is multi-talented. He is a gifted musician and dancer, with a wonderful stage presence.

It was the legacy of his famous great-grandfather, Albert Namatjira and the inspiration of his grandfather Clifford Possum that encouraged him to paint. While his paintings tell the traditional stories of his people and feature the iconography of the "Western Desert", Walangari uses a fuller colour spectrum and unique effects to forge a striking path within modern Aboriginal Art. Walangari uses the Jukurrpa range of Global Colour Paints which he personally helped create.

His paintings are widely acclaimed and he has exhibited extensively both in Australia and overseas. In 1995 he painted the first prize for the inaugural Indigenous Surfing Competition sponsored by Billabong and Coca Cola.

Walangari's life and paintings have been featured in many publications, including the "International Artist" magazine. The Australian Museum featured Walangari in the CD ROM that they produced as part of their "Living Colour" exhibition in March 2000. One of his early works has been acquired by the Australian National Gallery.

Artist's Statement

My Paintings are about my people and culture. When I begin a new painting, I need to look at more than just the composition, but the cultural significance of the work.