What lies beneath
THE ENIGMATIC AND STRIKINGLY BEAUTIFUL works by Eunice Jack are compelling and immediately engage you as the singular lines move and wave forming space and dimensionality. Inspired by a deep waterhole and the Tjukurrpa of her birth country – a place she has only been able to visit a few times since leaving the nomadic life of her childhood – it is her affinity for place and unabiding deep connection that lies beneath these exquisite works of linear abstraction.
“ Kuruyultu, near the small community of Tjukurrla in Western Australia, is a deep waterhole in a small mountain range, a ‘rockhole’. It is the Tjukurrpa (Dreaming) of Napanangka’s father and it is her country too … story of the wallaby mother and daughter who were speared at Kuruyultu whilst they were looking for food and water around the Tjukurrpa. The rockhole is what inspires Napanangka’s work. She paints the country around Kuruyultu in all the different seasons: after the rain, when the flowers blossom, during the rain, when the water runs off the sand dunes, and in this exhibition she focuses on the vastness of the country surrounding Kuruyultu, its sand hills spanning throughout the Western Desert. Her lines evoke the sand hills around Kuruyultu and situate the wallaby mother and daughter into this vast desertscape. The central motif of her previous works, the wallaby mother and daughter sitting at the rockhole, is removed in these latest works. They reflect on the place Kuruyultu and create through this further abstraction an infinity of sand dunes in the centre of Australia.”
– CHRISCHONA SCHMIDT, Manager Ikuntji Artists
“This is my country. I can’t remember how it all happened, because it happened before I was born. I have a scar on my back from it. My grandfather speared a wallaby at Kuruyultu. That night he ate that wallaby. At the sametime my mother could feel me moving inside her. She was heavily pregnant with me. That next morning, after my grandfather had speared the wallaby, killed it and eaten it, I was born. I was born at Kuruyultu, near the rockhole there. I can’t remember my grandfather or my grandmother. I was still a little baby. We left that place, Kuruyultu. My father, my mother, my big sister and my father’s brother, we all left together and went to Haasts Bluff. I grew up in Haasts Bluff. I have been back to Kuruyultu for visits but I never lived there again in my country. I think about it every day. Only my father knows all the stories for that country and he painted them too … all the men’s stories.” \
– EUNICE NAPANANGKA JACK
Winner of the 2017 Moreton Bay Region Art Awards and a consistent exhibition history, Eunice Jack has been painting for three decades. Her early works were collaboratives with her husband, the late Gideon Tjupurrula Jack; she began a solo practice in 1992 and was a founding member of Ikuntji Artists which also started around this time.