Linda Syddick Napaltjarri is considered one of Australia’s most important living Aboriginal artists.
Linda was born at Lake MacKay in the Western Australian Gibson Desert circa 1937. She has vivid memories of her childhood and being raised in a traditional lifestyle in the Gibson Desert of Western Australia.
Linda estimates her age at around 9 when she first encountered western civilisation. She recalls with extreme clarity their first encounter with an automobile and of her step father offering the 'snorting, steaming monsters a drink of water' as a peace offering.
Linda Syddick Napaltjarri
Linda’s birth father was killed in a revenge spearing when she was still a baby and she was adopted by the renowned artist Lungakta Tjungurrayi.
Shortly after her coming into contact with white Australia Linda’s family settled in the remote community of Haasts Bluff in Central Australia, approx. 225 kms west of Alice Springs. It was here that she came into contact with and was heavily influenced by missionaries.
Her art as such is influenced by a combination of both her father and her step fathers dreamings and her missionary involvement. Her artwork includes a distinctive fusion of Christian and Aboriginal traditional themes and motifs.
Linda incorporates many perspectives and stories into a single painting. The land and country are always portrayed in an aerial perspective, the way of traditional Pintupi sand paintings, but the figures are painted straight on, like they would appear if painted on a cave wall.
At the mission school, Linda learned the main features of Christianity and often depicts images of the three wise men visiting the new born baby Christ in.
'Sulky Man Dreaming' 120 x 180cm acrylic on linen
Linda also paints her country near Wilkinkara (Lake MacKay) and the experiences she recalls growing up in that country. Lake MacKay is a large dry salt lake which when occasionally fills with water and becomes blue, 'like sea water'. When this occurs birds and animals flock to the area.
Her paintings of windmills recall her families first experience with one of these 'demons'. When they saw this huge apparition standing they were frightened. They had never seen anything like this before, and began crying and screaming. For them, this was a terrible thing, something new and dangerous. Their witchdoctor attempted bush magic to subdue the 'demon'. It proved immune. Linda's father had worked for the army during the War, he knew what a windmill was all about and convinced the group that it was not indeed an evil spirit.
Need to Know:
Exhibition Dates: 5th April - 6th May 2017
Directors Talk: Saturday 22 April, 2 - 3pm
Linda is an extremely traditional women who was influenced by both the missions and traditional Aboriginal culture. Her art epitomises the significance of what occurs when one culture clashes with another at first contact. Her children may have grown up in a largely western influenced world but she is one of the last generation to grow up pre-contact and in a completely traditional manner. Her place in history is unique and her artwork is a reflection of this.
Linda has been a finalist on four different occasions in the Blake Prize for Religious art, one of Australia foremost art prizes and she has been a frequent finalist in the National Aboriginal Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award held in Darwin.
Linda was the subject of a portrait painted by Robert Hannaford, which was a 1992 finalist in Australia's premiere portrait competition, the Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW.
Mitchell Fine will hold a solo exhibition showcasing the works of Linda Syddick Napaltjarri from April 5th until May 6th.
Director Mike Mitchell will hold a talk in the gallery discussing the life of the artist and reflecting on his personal experiences working with Linda. This will be held on Saturday April 22nd from 2pm.
Mitchell Fine Art is located at 86 Arthur St, Fortitude Valley with onsite parking available.
The gallery is open Monday to Friday 10am - 5.30pm and Saturday 10am – 5pm.
For enquiries please phone 07 3254 2297 or email firstname.lastname@example.org