Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamara
One of the founding members of the Papunya painting movement, Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra was born at Kalipimpa, north-east of Kintore, in 1932. His anglicised name due to his tall, lean stature.
In the early 1970's Tjakamarra was employed as a grounds keeper at the Papunya School where Geoff Bardon encouraged some of the senior men to paint their stories. Tjakamarra was one of the first men to participate in the art making at Papunya, the genesis of the western desert art movement.
He served as a board member at Papunya Tula Artists and was instrumental in bringing together the disparate tribal groups. Some men painted contentious subjects which caused disputes. Sensitive subjects specific to a particular group were deemed sacred and inappropriate to be shown to the uninitiated. Tjakamarra was able to negotiate an acceptable presentation of these subjects for the purposes of art. He was invited along with
Tjakamarra’s subjects or dreamings are; the Wallaby, Kingfisher, Hare, Dingo and Emu. Many desert paintings tell stories of Dreamtime (the ancestral time of creation) and use abstracted symbols to highlight the importance and life-giving properties of water and food in a desert environment.
In 1984, Tjakamarra was ordained as a Lutheran Pastor, the spiritual aspects of his own culture fitting into the missionary teachings. He was known as a devout and introspective person, creating compelling traditional Aboriginal images of remarkable spiritual intensity.
Prizes awarded to Tjakamarra include the Northern Territory Golden Jubilee Art Award, 1983 and the Alice Springs Art Prize, 1984. He was one of the first artists from the area to have his work exhibited in Europe and North America and was included in the Papunya Tula, Genesis and Genius exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW in 2000. The latter was the first major retrospective of the Papunya Tula artists, acknowledging influence of this movement to Australian art history.
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