Born in 1954 to a Ngurrindjeri woman of the Tangani people from the Coorong in South Australia, and a Czechoslovakian father from Prague, Jacob Stengle was taken from his mother when 3 years old and became part of South Australia’s ‘Stolen Generation’. He was placed in the United Aborigines Mission’s Colebrook Home, in Eden Hills, SA.
Having shown a great talent for visual art from an early age he immersed himself in it as a means of escaping the harsh realities of life under the guidance of one of the superintendents at the home, who was a practicing oil painter. Over the following 45 years, Jacob supported himself through painting. A chance meeting with the London-born painter of Dreaming stories, Ainslie Roberts, began a lifelong friendship through which Jacob met a circle of practicing artists while he lived as an itinerant drifter.
His works have been exhibited in 5 solo exhibitions since 1985 and 4 group shows since 2009, principally through the Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide and during this time he has been a finalist in the National Aboriginal Art Award and the National Heritage Art Award. Jacob’s works are held in the permanent collections of Parliament House, Canberra, the South Australian Museum, Flinders University Gallery, Australian National Maritime Museum, and The National Gallery of Australia, Holmes a Court collection and the Australian Embassy in South Korea.