Direct from the artist, SA
In Colebrook, the children were taken on long nature walks in the bushland at the back of the home. The Superintendent, who was a keen photographer got us, children, to hunt for rare orchids for his slide collections to show on picture nights. In my painting, I thought of the magical bush and of the romantic ballet “La Sylphide” where James falls in love with a forest sprite (a Sylphide) on the eve of his wedding, while Pigling Bland from Beatrix Potter danced on. The sprite in my picture depicts childhood innocence and a link to magical and enchanted aspects of nature. The orchid stands for love, beauty, and fertility while the black dog under the mushroom stands for our fears and anxieties.
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.Share