Janangoo Butcher Cherel

BORN: c.1920 – 2009

LOCATION: Fitzroy Crossing, WA

LANGUAGE(S): Gooniyandi / Kija


Butcher Cherel Janangoo was born around 1920 at Jalnganjoowa. This is near the original homestead on one of the longest established cattle stations in the Kimberley, Fossil Downs, and later lived in town at Fitzroy Crossing.

His mother was Kija and his father, Gooniyandi. He spoke both languages as well as some Walmajarri and Bunuba. Both of his parents worked on the station in and around the homestead and he recalls being taken out bush for walkabout and at law time. With the two of them working on the station, it follows that Butcher also spent most of his working life on Fossil. As a stockman he worked cattle, droving from Fitzroy  Crossing to Derby and Broome. This time was hard as he remembers, “real hard”.

Butcher was a key elder of the Gooniyandi language group and has been instrumental in the retention of law ceremony at Muludja Community. He saw Aboriginal law and language as fundamentally important and feels uneasy that young people today do not have this tradition to refer to as they have not been educated as he was.

Butcher’s works provide glimpses of his cultural and physical environment. As he stated, “with my eyes, my heart and with my brain I am thinking.  When I go to sleep nighttime, I might talk to myself `ah, I might do (paint) that one tomorrow’, not dreaming; I think about what to do next.”

Selected Solo Exhibitions

1992       Butcher Cherel Janangoo Gooniyandi Kija, Birukmarri Gallery, Fremantle

1993       Parntapi Bilgna, Artplace Gallery, Perth (with Peter Skipper)

1996       Butcher Cherel Janangoo, Durack Gallery, Broome

1997       Joonany garra mi yoodila I put it good way, Artplace, Perth

1998       Gamba Malami Dagoola, Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne

1999       Imanara : Big Country, Festival of Perth Exhibition Artplace Gallery, Perth

1999       Janangoo Butcher Cherel, Aboriginal & Pacific Art, Sydney

2000       Imanara Country, Artplace, Perth

2001       Janangoo-Imanara-Gooniyandi, Artplace, Perth

2002       Imanara, Raft Artspace, Darwin

2003       Imanara Country, Aboriginal & Pacific Art, Sydney

2003       Imanara, Artplace, Perth

2004       Maiyalnga, Raft Artspace, Darwin

2005       Imanara Country, Aboriginal & Pacific Art, Sydney

2005       Imanara, Artplace, Perth

2006       Thinking Feeling Painting, Aboriginal & Pacific Art, Sydney

2006       Ngarrangkarni, Raft Artspace, Darwin

2007       Mirra Doorloo Marla (Head, Heart, Hands), Artplace, Melbourne

2007       Imanara; Gooniyandi Gooniyandi, Aboriginal & Pacific Art, Sydney

2008       Janangoo Butcher Cherel, Raft Artspace, Darwin

2008       Yanoonggo (Fresh/New), Artplace, Melbourne

2009       Gooni Ngarraggi (My Dreamings), Aboriginal & Pacific Art, Sydney