Johannes was born to Ambrose and Yvonne Katakarinja. Growing up at Hermannsburg, he went to central mission school. He remembers Mr. Arnold (teacher), telling him he would grow up to be a painter. Johannes recalls painting from the age of 14, but it was only at 20 that he painted true colours of landscape. Johannes spent a lot of time with his grandfather, Walter Ebatarinja, not being taught but being with him from a young boy, watching him paint. Later his grandfather was to advise him, to get up early to paint, to see the colours and distance in the land.
The theme of Johannes' paintings are based on his knowledge and memory of his country, the Western MacDonnell Ranges and areas around Hermannsburg. He never uses photographs. Asked if he has been involved in exhibitions, Johannes replied "no, not a famous painter like others." His work has, however, been exhibited in a number of group exhibitions and he was also commissioned to paint the mural on the Hermannsburg Finke River Mission Store.
Hermannsburg Art Gallery, NT
Private Collections in Australia
Hardy, J., Megaw, JVS. & Megaw, MR.
(1992) The Heritage of Namatjira - The Watercolourists of Central Australia, William Heinemann, Australia