Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra

Long Jack Phillipus was born at Kalipinypa, a major Water Dreaming place, north-east of Walungurru, in his mother’s country. When Long Jack was a teenager, he and his family came in to Haasts Bluff, where he worked as a timber cutter and stockman and was married.

In 1962 Long Jack moved to Papunya where he still lives, initially working as a gardener and groundsman. A councillor, working in the vicinity of the school, he was one of the founding members of the painting group in 1971 and quickly developed a relationship with the recently arrived school teacher Geoffrey Bardon. He was selected along with Billy Stockman Tjapaltjarri and Kaapa Tjampitjinpa to paint the “Honey Ant Dreaming” mural on the school wall. It was the first ever project done on a public building in Papunya and was the impetus for the start of the Papunya Tula Art Movement. Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra was among the first of the Aboriginal men to paint on canvas under Geoffrey Bardon’s influence in the early 1970s.

Long Jack’s work encompasses the Spinifex Wallaby, Kingfisher, Dingo, Possum and Emu Dreamings. A number of his early works on board depict decorated ceremonial participants and ritual objects perhaps occasioned by the heightened environment in the Men’s Painting Room, which prompted the artists to demonstrate visually the strength of their culture and law.

In 1983 Long Jack won the Northern Territory Golden Jubilee Art Award. The following year, he won first prize in the Alice Springs Caltex Art Award and was ordained as a Lutheran pastor. He was chairman of Papunya Tula Artists in the early 1990s.