Marshall Jangala Robertson was born in 1974 in Darwin, the closest hospital to Lajamanu, an Aboriginal community in semi-arid country on the edge of the Tanami Desert, halfway between Darwin and Alice Springs. He was raised in Lajamanu with his seven sisters and attended the local Lajamanu school and later Yirara College, an Aboriginal boarding college in Alice Springs. When he left school, at the end of Year 9, he returned to Lajamanu working in a variety of trades for the CDEP. He later moved to Yuendumu, his parents’ country.
Marshall was born into a family of established artists—his Dad, Jimmy Jampijinpa Robertson was a founding member of the Waniyaka Art Centre at Lajamanu and his Mum, Denise Napangardi Tasman, was also a well-known artist. Marshall watched and painted with his family and on visits to his parents’ country would be told his Jukurrpa stories. When Marshall moved to Yuendumu in 2010 he began painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community, 290 kms north-west of Alice Springs. Although he lives in Adelaide he visits often. He paints his Grandfather’s and Dad’s Jukurrpa: Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming); Watiya-Warna Jukurrpa (Seed Dreaming) and Warna Jukurrpa (Snake Dreaming). Dreamings which relate directly to his land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. He began using traditional iconography but has developed an individualistic style using pattern in a variety of contexts to depict his traditional Jukurrpa. He enjoys painting because it links him to his country and his culture.
Marshall is married to Justinna Napaljarri Sims and between them they have two girls and two boys. When Marshall is not painting, he enjoys going bush, hunting for goannas or travelling to Adelaide with his family, catching up with relatives and friends.