Agathon Gallery, Sydney, NSW
Tjala Aboriginal Art, Sydney, NSW
Cooee Aboriginal Art Gallery, Sydney, NSW
Born in the bush at Anumarapiti in the Western Desert of Western Australia in 1945, JeanÕs parents walked her to the mission in Ernabella when she was a baby.
Shortly after their arrival her mother passed away and her father took her from Ernabella to Warburton, walking from rock-hole to rock-hole for 800 kilometres. Along the way many women took turns in breast-feeding Jean, who has said that, ÔI always thought I had no family. I was really sad because other girlÕs mothers told them stories about country. I was lost. She wasnÕt telling me stories about families and country. Ngaltutjara.Õ
JeanÕs paintings reflect her relationship with country and culture, and her fatherÕs country is Alpualpultjta, a rockhole near the creek at Pipalyatjara. At one point he travelled with his mother to Kalka, to another Rockhole.
Jean said, ÔThis is good country near Irrunytju. We want to go our grandmotherÕs and grandfatherÕs country, the rock-holes where they went, where they used to go around, rock-hole to rock-hole to get feed. Hunt for kangaroos, emus, and goannas. Long time ago when piranpa wasnÕt here. TheyÕd live with no flour, no medicines, they were strong. They were the strongest people in the area. But now theyÕve all got sick, all got diabetes. And we want to do the paintings so we can teach the younger ones the old stories. So they can learn. If we finish, itÕs their turn to do dot paintings, to tell the dreamtime stories. Keep the stories strong. ThatÕs why we do the dot paintings, so they can say ÒThatÕs my country, thatÕs my motherÕs country.Ó Like that. So everybodyÕs getting learned. WeÕre all learned now.Õ
Today Jean lives in Warakurna with her uncle Ð well known Australian artist Tommy Watson Ð and paints for NganampaNgura Arts Ð Docker River Community Arts Centre. Her paintings are based on linear designs and a softer palette demonstrates a deep connection and spirituality to the land.Share