The Aboriginal art community is mourning the death of Weaver Jack, the first indigenous artist to be shortlisted for the Archibald Prize.

She was a master colourist whose work showed a strong bond to her home country.

Jack, a senior Yulparija woman who lived in the Kimberley community of Bidyadanga, passed away earlier this month in Broome, where she had been staying with her grandson.

Emily Rohr, whose Short Street Gallery represented Jack for 10 years, said her tiny frame belied her formidable talent.

“Her work is really unique,” Ms Rohr said.

“No one else paints the way she paints. And because she was displaced from her country, she used painting to reclaim her country.”

Born at a waterhole in the Great Sandy Desert about 1928, Jack left her desert country four decades later and headed for Bidyadanga. She lived a traditional life, and her art would often represent the Lungarung desert where she was born.


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