Born in the Willowra area at Aningie station near Central Mt Stuart in 1955, Malcolm Jagamara describes himself as a Lander River Warlpiri. He is the son of Minnie Napanangka. His traditional country is Wantapari, some 60 km west of Willowra in the Tanami Desert. He attended Adelaide Boys High School, launching a ten year career as a footballer which earned him a place in a publication 200 Unsung Heroes and Heroines of Australian History. In 1976 he returned from Adelaide to Willowra and began his Aboriginal education, including instruction in how to paint for ceremony. His principal Dreamings are Wana (Snake), Walu (Fire) and Ngapa (Water). He has also painted Budgerigar, Seven Sisters and Goanna stories with which he has family connections. He began painting in 1985, after observing the development of the art movement for a decade. His first two boards were done in Darwin in what he described as a moment of ‘desperation’. Later his uncle, Willie Reilly Japanangka, one of the first people to start painting in Willowra, helped to get him started properly. Malcolm also has family ties with the communities of Yuendumu (where he is the nephew of the Community Council’s President), and Mt Allan. A very articulate man with a strong consciousness of cultural and political issues, the artist was the first of his people to become actively involved in commerce in Western Desert art: ‘OK, they had their role model for an artist – and that was Namatjira, but up to this stage they had no role model for the dealer of their own art. Im talking about Yapa here – an Aboriginal person. There’s been none of that. To be able to sit down and deal with Yapa levels.’ This sensibility and intelligence appears also in the variety of influences and the exploration of new directions in his art (e.g. use of oils). One of his works features on a Telecom phonecard, and in 1992 he was artist-in-residence at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and in 1993 at Macquarie University, where he painted a large mural with the assistance of student helpers. He has also recently travelled to North America.