05 Dec Jack Dale Mengenen
Jack Dale Mengenen (c1922- 2013) painted the stories of the Kimberley through the eyes of a man who experienced the history of place directly in his own life. His paintings are a revelation – gritty, scarred ochre paintings, often figurative, telling stories of events that took place in the landscape that Jack Dale knew well.
The Wandjina figures are authoritative, sometimes shown with the sites where their exploits took place. The historical and personal stories relate to an era where Aboriginal people were hunted and shot, or imprisoned in chains and removed from their country. Images of police chain gangs, massacre stories and enforced labour gangs are set against stories of station life and missionary settlements. The journeys made are alive with history – Jack remembered specific journeys with donkey carts, Afghan cameleers, drovers on horseback, blackfellas on foot.
Jack Dale Mengenen was born out in the bush at Mt House Station in the west Kimberley around 1920. His early life was moulded by the experience of conflict between cultures. Jack’s Aboriginal mother, a Ngarinyin woman, tried to keep her son away from his violent white father. Jack Dale senior was known for his brutal character, having once shot his own son in the leg to stop him from running away.