Jacob Stengle

Jacob Stengle’s (Karumapuli) life is just one of many extraordinary stories of hardship and suffering that Indigenous aka Original children endured. And yet what is even more extraordinary, is Jacob’s ability to convey some of these memories, with such humour and joy. These memories include such atrocities as Maralinga (Black Mist Burnt), which for many of us have been within our life time and in our own back yard!

Jacob was born in Renmark in 1954 to a Ngurrindjeri mother and Czech-slovanian father.

My mother’s country was the Coorong, made famous in the film ‘Storm Boy’. My father was from Prague. My mother died when I was 3 years old, and I was placed in Colebrook home for indigenous children at Eden Hills, 20 minutes from Adelaide. Many of my paintings depict happy times in the home, where we were always using crayons and pencils etc.

Jacob is an Indigenous Artist from the “Old School” who instead of collecting diplomas prefers the practical ‘Master Class’ of bursts of colour splashed, scratched and clawed onto the creaking canvas. He follows this primal approach with quiet meticulous finishing brush strokes all to the resonating symphony of Vivaldi. He portrays in his images the two worlds from which he comes.

Many years were spent searching for his heritage, his place in the outside world, trying feverishly to find his way in life and where he belonged.

Jacob (Karumapuli) always practiced art from a very early age, as one of the superintendents at the home was a practicing oil painter. They would come to spend many hours together with a young Jacob watching with eager eye as what was once a blank canvas be transformed to life before his very eyes.

In later life Jacob attended Art School, as well as worked with other professional artists. Over the last 45 years Jacob has experimented with many art mediums. He uses mostly Polymer Acrylic, but is also proficient in watercolour, pastel, ink and pencil.

Sadly, Jacob Stengle passed away peacefully in his sleep on Friday 12th August 2022, he was just 67 years of age. I feel very sad when I think about and our last conversation, at the time (just a few weeks earlier) it never crossed my mind we would not speak again, and we were both excited for a planned exhibition in 2023. I have yet to meet his family, and hope when I do we can still arrange a tribute exhibition. RIP Jacob.


  • Jacob Stengle – Desert Camp Dreaming
  • Jacob Stengle – Dreamtime Elder (Milerum)
  • Jacob Stengle – Early Morning Dreaming
  • Jacob Stengle – Wake Up Callers
  • Jacob Stengle – Little Red Bucking Horse
  • Jacob Stengle – Stephen Ready for ANZAC March
  • Jacob Stengle – The Cricket Match
  • Jacob Stengle – The Peacemaker
  • Jacob Stengle – Job
  • Jacob Stengle – Feathers
  • Jacob Stengle – Wattle Wrestling
  • Jacob Stengle – The 9 Footer
  • Jacob Stengle – Sailor Down Wombat Hole
  • Jacob Stengle – Reef Meeting
  • Jacob Stengle – Rambos Close Shave
  • Jacob Stengle – Hitch Hiker
  • Jacob Stengle – Heading to a 9 Footer
  • Jacob Stengle – Goolwa Cockle Shuffle
  • Jacob Stengle – Firestarter
  • Jacob Stengle – Cowboys and Indians
  • Jacob Stengle – Collecting Swan Eggs
  • Jacob Stengle – Chooks
  • Jacob Stengle – Beach Encounter
  • Jacob Stengle – At Moana with Ned and But But
  • Jacob Stengle – Periwinkle Gathering
  • Jacob Stengle – Drinking I
  • Jacob Stengle – Drinking II
  • Jacob Stengle – Drinking III
  • Jacob Stengle – Drinking IV
  • Jacob Stengle – Drinking V
  • Jacob Stengle – The Bunyip
  • Jacob Stengle – Daisy Chains
  • Jacob Stengle – Life’s little disruptions
  • Jacob Stengle – Priests final walk in summer haze
  • Jacob Stengle – Summer Drink
  • Jacob Stengle – Summer cool off
  • Jacob Stengle – In fine voice for Queen and Country
  • Jacob Stengle – Nesting season (On the way to Footy)
  • Jacob Stengle – The Last Supper
  • Jacob Stengle – The settlers daughter
  • Jacob Stengle – Julie
  • Jacob Stengle – Get out of town before sunset
  • Jacob Stengle – Early arrivals to Coorong
  • Jacob Stengle – A meeting with Ned to plan the raid of Mrs Fitzgerald’s apricot tree