Kurltjuniytjinta Jackie Giles
Born about 1935, died 2010
Manyjilyjarra language group, Tjapaltjarri skin group
My umbilical cord fell off at Marapinti near Kiwirrkurra. No roads, no cars, nothing. My own father, Walruti… used to carry me on his back and shoulders as we travelled. Then as a young man, I went to Warakurna and later to Warburton. I met my wife Norma there and we were married.
Mr Giles grew up in the Country between Patjarr and Kiwirrkurra. He travelled widely throughout his life as a respected law man, maparn (healer) and pioneering artist and maintianed expansive family networks across the desert. Mr Giles passed away in 2010.
2008, Jackie Giles
acrylic on linen, 102 x 152cm
National Museum of Australia
Purrungu, a rock hole, is home to a giant jila (ancestral snake). The lines on this painting represent the path of the snake travelling underground. People have to close their eyes and not look into the water when they drink here. If they hear a rumble or if the ground begins to vibrate, it means that the snake is approaching, and everyone has to leave very quickly.
Mr Giles was the first one to start [painting]. We spread the blanket and we started painting and many watched. I watched and I learnt from him and started doing it myself. But he had no brushes. He only used his hands at the beginning. They used to watch our hands and how we painted and think, ‘How are they doing it with no brush, only hands!
Ngumarnu Norma Giles, 2008