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Jack Britten

The Kawariny (Bungle Bungles) - 2000

natural earth pigments on Belgian Linen
90.0 x 121.0 cm
Price Realised: $4,148.00

MP #146


Narrangunny Art Traders, WA Cat. No. N1328JB
Kimberley Art, Vic
Private Collection, Vic

Jack Britten was born and spent his childhood at Tickelara Station in the north-west of Australia, at a time when many Gija people were massacred during the gold rush at Hall’s Creek and Chinaman’s Garden in the East Kimberley region.


'Sometimes they bin all day shootin people there,' Jack recalled in his later years, 'my father and mother and grandparents were with good gadiya (white man). I might have got shot if he didn’t look after me' (cited in Ryan 1993: 41).

Jack Britten began painting earlier than almost all of his contemporaries, including Rover Thomas and Paddy Jaminji. His grandparents taught him to paint using traditional materials, methods and themes. Despite a vast repertoir, Jack Britten is most renowned for his depictions of the Purnululu, the Bungle Bungle region of which he became the most senior living custodian.

Throughout his career he constantly drew inspiration from this land, painting the Bungle Bungles as clusters of dome shaped mountains, layered with glistening white or black trails of dots. Excentricities and undulations in composition and stylistic manner were to be found throughout his artistic output.