Current Stockroom Catalogue
Aboriginal Artist - Linda Syddick Napaltjarri
Linda Syddick Napaltjarri was born at Jigalong in W.A. near Lake MacKay, the large dry salt lake, which straddles the WA-NT border, north west of Kintore. In 1943, when just 18 months old, her mother moved in to Kintore after her father was killed in a spearing. Thereafter she was raised by her father’s brother, the famous early western desert painter, Shorty Lungkarta Tjungerayi. Linda lived a traditional lifestyle walking the Pintupi homelands with her family and thus developing an intimate knowledge of her country until her early 30’s in the late 1960’s and, during the 1970’s, she assisted Shorty, who along with Nosepeg Tjupurrula and Uta Uta Tjangala taught her to paint. She has continued to be an active painter since that time. Her first husband, Musty Syddick, the son of a Pintupi woman and an Afghan camel driver was an inventive artist who painted for Papunya Tula in the 1970’s. Linda too, proved to be an innovative painter through her art practice over the following 35 years. A deeply religious woman her paintings reflect both her extensive knowledge of the Dreaming and her Christian beliefs. Besides these, ‘crossover’ paintings she paints Tingari Dreamings, her father’s Emu Dreamings and her mother’s Snake stories.
During the 1980’s Linda rose to prominence as an artist with a series of paintings that fused Christian stories with Aboriginal tradition, In attempting to show the link between Christian and Aboriginal creation stories she touched upon universal themes in her paintings that were executed in a traditional Pintupi style.
A series of paintings created from the start of the 1990’s explored her fascination with character ET. After seeing the movie more than 20 times she empathized with the character’s longing to return home, just as her own ancestral creator spirits return to the Dreaming in her own traditional cosmology.
In her most recent work, Linda returns to more traditional themes concerning the travels of the Tingari and Emu men, and images of her country around lake MacKay where the Pintupi used to camp and gather for ceremonies. The Emu was the totem of her father, Rintje Tjungerayi and stepfather Shorty Lungkarta. The journeys of Tingari and Emu ancestral beings are considered to be sacred and reveal the law and custom that governs the behavior and moral code by which people of the western desert live to this day. These stories have been central to the cultural and spiritual life of the Pintupi people for thousands of years.
Amongst her many achievements as an artist Linda Syddick was selected as a finalist in Australian Perspecta in 1993. She was awarded Winner of the Northern Territory Art Award and runner-up in the Heritage Art Award during 1995; the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander two year Fellowship in 1996; and has been a four time finalist in the Blake Prize.
In August 2006 Linda Syddick Napaltjarri was selected as the Winner of the Painting Award at the 23rd Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT after having been a finalist on no less than 8 occasions.