Janangoo Butcher Cherel

Born 1920-2009
Language Group Australia - Gooniyandi
Region Fitzroy / West Kimberley
Butcher Cherel Janangoo was born around 1920 at Jalnaganjoowa. This is near the original
homestead on one of the longest established cattle stations in the Kimberley, Fossil Downs.
He now lives in Fitzroy Crossing.
His mother was a Kija woman and his father was Gooniyandi. He speaks both languages as
well as Walmajarri and also Bunuba. Both of his parents worked on the station in and around
the homestead and he recalls being taken out bush for walkabout 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
Downs. As a stockman he worked cattle, droving from Fitzroy Crossing to Derby and
Broome. This time was hard as he remembers, "real hard".
He began painting relatively late in life as did many of his peers. His paintings document natural
phenomena and are a metaphorical reference to both his country, Imanara, and his life
experiences. As he stated, "with my eyes, my heart and with my brain I am thinking. When I
go to sleep at night time, I might talk to myself ' ah, I might do (paint) that one tomorrow', not
dreaming; I think what to do next."
He is well represented nationally and in many private collections around the world. He is
considered to be one of Australia's leading contemporary artists.
Butcher is a key elder of the Gooniyandi language group and has been instrumental in the
retention of law and ceremony at Muludja Community. He sees 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.


National Gallery of Victoria
Holmes A Court Collection
Artbank, Sydney
University of WA
Aboriginal Affairs Department
Kerry Stokes Collection
Art Gallery Of WA
Curtin University WA
The Parliament House Collection