Jacob Stengle

Jacob Stengle

Jacob Stengle’s (Karumapuli) life is just one of many extraordinary stories of hardship and suffering that Indigenous aka Original children endured. And yet what is even more extraordinary, is Jacob’s ability to convey some of these memories, with such humour and joy. These memories include such atrocities as Maralinga (Black Mist Burnt), which for many of us have been within our life time and in our own back yard!

Jacob was born in Renmark in 1954 to a Ngurrindjeri mother and Czech-slovanian father.

My mother’s country was the Coorong, made famous in the film ‘Storm Boy’. My father was from Prague. My mother died when I was 3 years old, and I was placed in Colebrook home for indigenous children at Eden Hills, 20 minutes from Adelaide. Many of my paintings depict happy times in the home, where we were always using crayons and pencils etc.

Jacob is an Indigenous Artist from the “Old School” who instead of collecting diplomas prefers the practical ‘Master Class’ of bursts of colour splashed, scratched and clawed onto the creaking canvas. He follows this primal approach with quiet meticulous finishing brush strokes all to the resonating symphony of Vivaldi. He portrays in his images the two worlds from which he comes.

Many years were spent searching for his heritage, his place in the outside world, trying feverishly to find his way in life and where he belonged.

Jacob (Karumapuli) always practiced art from a very early age, as one of the superintendents at the home was a practicing oil painter. They would come to spend many hours together with a young Jacob watching with eager eye as what was once a blank canvas be transformed to life before his very eyes.

In later life Jacob attended Art School, as well as worked with other professional artists. Over the last 45 years Jacob has experimented with many art mediums. He uses mostly Polymer Acrylic, but is also proficient in watercolour, pastel, ink and pencil.

I have had 2 children who are both sadly deceased. Bridgette in her twenties from a heart complaint, and Jack in his twenties from a heroin overdose. A drinking culture had always been with me from when I left the home, and alcoholism followed. I was raising Jack’s young son Jacob, when he was killed in a road accident. Drink nearly claimed my life. A good friend forced me to stay in hospital seven years ago and this was where a heart condition was found. I have been a teetotaler ever since.

Now, I live for my art and since going back to oils have enjoyed my art tremendously…

Artwork

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