Jagamarra was born in the Australian Outback in 1955, the son of a Warlpiri woman and an Irish Bushman. His family lived a traditional life, and whenever they neared a white homestead he would be hidden to save him from being kidnapped by government agents (see Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children). But when he was six he was discovered by the authorities, taken from his family, and sent to Adelaide, where he remained for the next 18 years. He graduated from high school in 1972 and played major-league football until 1975. He returned to his family in 1960 for the first time since his kidnapping. In 1983 he was initiated.
His art derives from tribal ceremonies but uses modern techniques and materials.
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