Name: Kurltjunyintja Jackie Giles
Kurltjunyintja Jackie Giles - Country, family, and painting [ORAL HISTORY]
Other Speaker/s: Ngumarnu Norma Giles
Synopsis: Jacky Giles talks about his Country and family. Jacky also talks about painting with Kayili Artists.
Language spoken: Nyaanyatjarra, Manyjilyjarra, English
Catalogue number: CSROH_62_Kurltjunyintja_Jackie_Giles
Interviewed By: Tim Acker, John Carty
Transcribed By: Lizzie Ellis, Jan Mountney
Translated By: Lizzie Ellis, Jan Mountney
Location Recorded: Warburton
Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Notes: This transcript is also available in language. Notes included in square brackets indicate comments made by translator Jan Mountney. There is some confusion between Tim Acker and John Carty in this transcript.
Full transcript: Jackie Giles: When I was born I was called by my skin name Tjapaltjarri.
I was born in the area near Murtikalka.
[Note: February 2009, he told Lizzie that he was not born there, but that his father was.]
One of my brothers went to Yuendumu as a young man and lived there until he passed away. One of my older brothers died at Walukirritji. That’s where my father was living with many wives, both Naparrula and Nangala.
I was born at Kurrily-kurrily. My umbilical cord fell off at Marapirnti near Kiwirrkura. At that time, Pinta-pinta told Yarla-yarla to take me and care for me. This was in the time when there were no roads around Kiwirrkura, just spinifex Country. No roads, no cars, nothing. There was no road towards Jupiter Well. The roads were built later. We lived in the bush and we didn’t wear clothes.
One of my uncles was born at a place called Mirnpurru and he is the traditional owner for Yumari from his mother’s side. He’s my mother Nganyintja’s older brother, and he is really tall.
When I was a baby we used to travel to Wirti, Wirrapi and Kurrily-kurrily. My uncles took me when my father died. He passed way quite close to Walukirritji. My other father Walurti belonging to the Tjungurrayi skin group looked after me. He used to carry me on his back and on his shoulders as we travelled around from place to place. These are the places we travelled around: Katuku, Purrungu, Kurltuta, Kurrpa and Ngunyarrpa. I grew up in those places. None of the family had shoes or clothes. I became a man and I still walked around those places.
Then as a young man, I went to Warakurna and later to Warburton. I met my wife Nyumanu [Norma Giles], there, and we were married. Well, we now have many adult sons and I travel to Tjamu-tjamu by car! I am always going up and down between Tjamu-tjamu, Yuendumu, Kiwirrkura and Walungurru [Kintore].
When I was young, I used to be with all my uncles and see them regularly. They have all passed away now – all of them, poor things.
Most of my younger siblings have passed away. We’ve had many funerals at Walungurru. Now there are just two of us left – Mawutji and me. I raised Mawutji here, carrying him around on my shoulders.
One of my brothers is buried at Docker River and another at Warakurna. Mr. Butler is my younger cousin. He’s the son of my uncle Yarla-yarla.
My mother, she’s passed on now. She was a Nangala. She’s buried near Karrku and a young fellow is buried nearby. Now there’s another mother buried at Karilwara. She’s the Naparrula mother. Liwintji is the daughter of one mother. One of my older sisters, Tjanangu, died at Mangila.
There were no roads at this time. No road to Well 33. They made that road later, to 33 and Nyirnmi.
Norma Giles: I’ve been to Parnngurr, Well 61 [sic. Possibly referring to Well 33], and Jigalong. That was after the road was made. I took my first two children, Stephen and Les.
JG: I was born with the skin name Tjapaltjarri at Kurrily-kurrily.
NG: Your totem is Marlulu. In your totemic time, you were placed as a marlulu in your countries of Kiwirrkura and Tjamu-tjamu. Your mother gave birth to a baby there at Kiwirrkura.
Tim Acker: Where were you born?
JG: At Kiwirrkura. That’s my true home. I was born at Kurrily-kurrily.
My father was born at Kurrily-kurrily.
NG: At Tjamu-tjamu too.
JG: Another father was born there too.
NG: Where were Sarah and you born?
Both my mothers have died.
My father Walukirritji had two younger siblings who passed away at Murtikalka. My young father cared for me.
My older brother is finished, the one who used to live around Nyirrpi.
NG: You had a bush name.
JG: Yes, but I can’t remember it now.
I was the first serious painter for Kayili Artists. A lot of different government people come and speak to me. I was the first painter. Well, people from many places buy my paintings – people from Darwin, Hong Kong, America, Top End, Perth, Malaysia. Yes, from everywhere.
TA: It sounds like Kayili Artists has been really good for you. You’ve been strong and they’ve been really good, for getting people painting and making sure they received money. What would happen if there was no longer Kayili Artists?
JG: Our own Country, that’s what we paint. We paint the desert Country. However, at the moment we are not painting because we are very involved with ceremonial business. Two of our grandsons are involved. After the ceremony ends, I’m going to Karilwara. But I have no car to go, poor me. That’s why I worry about Toyotas, because I have no way of getting around for day-to-day business. I’m always thinking about cars. There are a lot of vehicles there in the yard. Shall we get one? Then we can go to Kiwirrkura.
John Carty: This other man, [Tim Acker] has to write a story telling about the different art centres. He’s trying to think about the importance of Kayili Artists.
JG: We have the authority to talk through our painting. It’s our Country and our stories we are painting. I was the first to start painting.
Video recording: 149 KAYILI ARTISTS JACKIE & NORMA GILES
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Kurltjunyintja Jackie Giles; © FORM, transcript only
Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.