Butcher Cherel Janangoo was a key elder of the Gooniyandi language group in the Kimberley and was instrumental in the retention of men’s law ceremony at Muludja Community.
Janangoo features a selection of Butcher’s paintings from the early 2000s, which he made to preserve and transmit this significant body of cultural knowledge to the younger generation. These works have never been shown outside of Fitzroy Crossing.
The exhibition provides glimpses into Butcher Janangoo’s cultural and physical environment. As he stated, “with my eyes, my heart and with my brain I am thinking. When I go to sleep night time, I might talk to myself ‘ah, I might do (paint) that one tomorrow,’ not dreaming; I think about what to do next.”
“Janangoo (Butcher Cherel) was named Western Australia’s state living treasure not once but twice in 1994 and 2005. A senior Gooniyandi elder, a linguist in four Kimberley languages; two by birthright Kija and Gooniyandi, Walmajarri and Bunuba learnt during the station days. His most important title however would be father, uncle, grandfather and great grandfather.
His artistic style consists of modern abstracts that one would not consider traditional Indigenous art form. True contemporary art!
He painted the land that he loved, the traditional stories that were passed on to him, the seasons and the food that comes with each season.
Janangoo started painting later on in his life, working on different mediums including lino prints, etching, paper and canvas.
Mangkaja’s early years were defined by acrylic on paper and his preferred medium.
A man who held a wealth of knowledge of Country.”
– Lynley Nardoodah, 2019