Accession Number ART96273
Collection type Art
Measurement Unframed: 73.7 x 109.5 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description acrylic on canvas
Maker Green, Jack
Place made Australia: Northern Territory, Borroloola
Date made 2013
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Period 2010-2019

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


'When I was working in Doomadgee there was a policeman who asked us to do some painting, and he wanted a painting of the plane crash. At that time I didn't know where that plane crashed the only time I’d heard about it before was when the Garrwa people (my community) were doing a corroborree about that plane crash. So I talked to some of the old senior people who passed away now and they told me about where the plane crashed. They said the plane crashed at Dudajarrba, which is a bush name for the place Moonlight Creek. Somewhere near Moonlight Creek. Not at Moonlight Creek, but near there. That's what they told me. ' Jack Green, 2014

This painting by Jack Green depicts the wartime story of 'Little Eva', an American B24 Liberator that came down in a storm off the coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1943. The American crew had parachuted out of their aircraft and of the survivors two groups formed. Two of the crew starting walking in the direction of Burketown and were rescued. Another group of four survived the crash, but were left struggling to survive in the remote terrain of the Northern Territory. Three of them lost their lives, while the fourth, Sgt Grady Gaston, was rescued after nearly 4 months after the crash by an Indigenous boy known by the English name of Strike-a-light. It captures the moment following the crash when the men sat down around a blanket to work out what they had. Green commented, "They didn't have much, knives, a revolver, chewing gum, chocolates, and must have had a wallet".

Jack Green (1953- ) is a Garrwa artist from the southwest Gulf of Carpentaria in the Northern Territory. He has had no formal art training, and in fact has never been to school. His artwork is instead underpinned by the Indigenous law taught to him by his grandfathers, uncles, and other senior kin from the southwest Gulf peoples; the Marra, Gudanji, Yanyuwa and Garrwa. It is this knowledge that is reflected in his paintings and enriches his commentary on wartime history and contemporary life in the community. The wartime story depicted in this work reveals the legacy continues to play in the lives of the Indigenous people from the Borroloola region. Today, it is remembered through a commemorative performance known as the Aeroplane Dance, which continues to be performed by community today.