Jacqueline Unanue was born in Chile, and she is also Spanish nationalized. During the early seventies, she studied design at the Universidad de Chile de Valparaíso. At that time she became interested in pre-Columbian art, especially the rock art done in her native country. She met archaeologist Hans Niemeyer, the most important scholar of Chilean rock art, who became her mentor.
Unanue traveled extensively through Chile’s desert, doing on-site research in the mountains and cliff areas that contain art that was carved or painted thousands of years ago. She also traveled to Spain to study the pre-historic paintings of the Altamira caves in the Basque Country, which being the home of her paternal ancestors connected her to her roots.
Inspired by these archeological records, she created her own graphic language in a book she titled El Arte Rupestre Chileno, un encuentro con el Hombre Primitivo (Chilean Rock Art, An Encounter with Primitive Man), for which she got her graphic design degree. Rock art also provided inspiration for her work in graphic art, textile art, and painting.  In 1989, she won the Critic’s Award in Visual Art from the Valparaiso Art Critics Association in Chile.
In addition to numerous individual and group exhibitions in Chile since 1983, she has also been exhibited in Spain, Finland, Ecuador, Argentina, and the United States—in galleries in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York. She exhibited in Barcelona, Spain during June 2013.

Since her arrival in the United States in 2000, her artistic vision has mainly been expressed through acrylic painting on canvas.  
Unanue currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband Ricardo Guajardo who is a designer and graphic artist. She is represented by the 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia.