Isaac Cherel Australian, Gooniyandi , 1955-2021
Isaac Cherel is a Gooniyandi Man, from the Fitzroy Valley river country. Isaac grew up on Old Station in Fossil Downs where his parents lived and worked in the Gooniyandi language group country along the Fitzroy and Margaret Rivers of the Kimberley. Isaac’s mother Elsie remarried and her second husband Butcher Cherel, renowned Mangkaja painter, raised Isaac as his own son. Isaac was a station worker and a cowboy as a young man, working stock across the Kimberley. He now resides in Muludja and was inspired by his step father Butcher to take up painting. He lives near the river and paints at home, visiting Mangkaja to collect his materials each week. Isaac paints his country, particularly the flora and fauna from the river and flood areas. His focus remains on traditional practices and belief systems, painting symbols that relate to men’s law practices and to the spirits of his country, particularly the mamu or joowarri, which are little people with big ears that live in the hills.