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Jack Britten / Alice Downs Way

SKU: JB85

50cm x 60cm Ochre on Canvas, 2001

$1,928.16

50cm x 60cm Ochre on Canvas, 2001

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Artist Profile

c. 1921 – July 2002

Jack was born Alice Downs Station and commenced stockwork at an early age.  He worked on many stations in the East Kimberley, and as a drover to many parts of Australia, including the Canning Stock Route to Alice Springs and east to Central Queensland.  He had an incredible recall and enjoyed talking about his working days – he could remember the name of every station owner (“all good men, them”) and all the characters from the early settler days. He had a great sense of humour, and his story telling was nothing short of riveting.

A Senior Kitja Lawman, Jack began painting after his stockwork, with Paddy Jampinji, George Mung Mung and Rover Thomas. He recalled being given a piece of canvas and the difficulty of painting in hot weather, as the canvas shrunk and buckled when the ochre was applied.  He and the original Ochre artists decided to “stretch” these unwieldy canvases onto plywood. Today, Aboriginal artists refer to stretched canvas as “painting boards”. Jack told of using the natural bush gums and kangaroo blood as binders for the ochre, of Rover chewing grass to colour and bulk up the ochre if it was poor quality.

Because of his detailed knowledge of the land and the Ngarrangkarni (Dreaming) stories of his culture, Jack was able to depict accurately a myriad of subject matter in his painting career – and this he was, right up until his passing, very willing to teach to the younger generations of his people. He was heard to say many times that the Aboriginal culture would be preserved by the dancing, singing and the stories of the paintings.

Jack formed the Wurreranginy (Frog Hollow) Community south of Turkey Creek, and painted there for many years with his long time friends Henry Wambini and Beerbee Mungnari. He relocated to Turkey Creek in 2001 but was always referred to as “The old man from Frog Hollow”.  He was Traditional Custodian of Purnululu, the subject matter of many of his paintings, as well as the station country “closest” to him – Hann Springs, Tickelara, Mabel Downs, Lissadell, Texas Downs.

Since the late 1980’s, Jack exhibited Australia-wide, including “Crossroads – Towards a new Reality”, Aboriginal Art from Australia, Tokyo 1992, “Images of Power” National Gallery of Victoria 1993. 1992 saw him win the prestigious Museums and Art Galleries Award and the National Aboriginal Art Award.  His work is included Australia wide and Internationally in the best private and corporate collections, including Artbank, Sydney;  Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Gifu Museum Japan.

Jack was included in Australia’s Top 50 Most Collectable Artists 2004.

Selected Collections
• Artbank, Sydney
• Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
• Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
• Gifu Museum, Japan
• Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
• National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
• National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
• The Holmes a Court Collection, Perth
• The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, U.S.A.

Artist's Description

I bin born this country – this Alice Downs place. Stayed there long time. She’s good station up from Turkey Creek. Worked Alice, Mabel Downs, Lissadell, Nicholson right over Northern Territory Border – those were baldy face cattle then. Now big Brahman ones. East part of Nicholson is Purnululu country – this part big hills that I painted – good land in between.

Jack Britten / Alice Downs Way
700 FIVE STAR REVIEWS ON GOOGLE, FACEBOOK & TRIPADVISOR!
Gail Walls

Amazing. .wonderful paintings…love the stories told with each..beautiful works by all..look forward each day to see what is next to come…a big thank you to all for your beautiful pieces

Alli Lou

If there was an option to, I’d give a 100 star rating

Gheorghe Taralunga – Craiova

C EST MAGNIFIQUES CETTES OEUVRE !!!!!!!!!!

Katherine Chandler Ferguson – Fitzroy Crossing

I’ve not been able to visit for a while but love the work here! I think I’m due a trip with the boys soon!

Greg Ambrose-Pearce – Darwin

Seamless purchase great people to deal with would love to buy more!

Sue Candy

Just exquisite work, the detail, the colour and the stories. I’m in love with Artlandish Art!

Raye Stratford

Loving how Kirstie finds brilliant artists and shares not only the artwork, but the back story of both the piece AND the artist. You can tell she absolutely loves Aboriginal art, and she has such great rapport with the artists.

Mark Carroll – London

Best place to buy genuine, quality art from. On my 10th purchase and counting.

Hayley Beaver – London

Beautiful art work….. Love it!

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