Linda Syddick Napaltjarri Indigenous Australian, b. c.1937-

Overview

Born: Lake Mackay in the Gibson Desert

Language: Pintupi

 

Linda Syddick Napaltjarri was born in 1937. Her innovative and distinctive paintings are intensely original and fuse stories of Christianity and Aboriginal tradition in an attempt to show the link between Christian beliefs and the Aboriginal view of creation known as the Dreaming (Tjukurrpa). Tjukurrpa is a spiritual concept which incorporates past, present and future into a dynamic continuum.

 

Linda was born around Lake Mackay in the Gibson Desert, of the 'Western Desert' region, near the border of Western Australian and Northern Territory. Her father was killed when she was young, and her mother later re-married Shorty Lungkarta Tjungarrayi, an artist whose work was a significant influence on her when she started painting.

 

As a child she lived a traditional nomadic lifestyle walking the Pintupi homelands, developing an intimate knowledge of her country. Like many of the families from the desert region during the 1940s, they walked to the settlements on the eastern edge of the desert. There they made first contact with missions and government ration stations that were far from their ancestral lands.

 

The small nomadic clan that first came to the settlement at Mt Liebig in 1945 had with them a Nangkari (witch doctor), who on seeing a windmill took it to be an evil spirit and attacked it with his magic. Linda's second father, Shorty Lungkarta was also a powerful man, the owner of many Dreaming stories, and was also a Magic man who could communicate with the spirit world. Unlike the others, he had some knowledge of the whitefella world, having worked with the army during the War. He had seen a windmill and knew their purpose. Shorty explained: "This is a whitefella thing, used for getting water up from under the ground. See that pond over there, that is good water for us to drink."

 

In 1985, just before Shorty Lungkarta died, he told Linda that she was to carry on his work and to continue to paint his Tjukurrpa or Dreamings. So in 1986, Linda Syddick Napaltjarri was taught to paint by her two uncles Uta Uta Tjangala and Nosepeg Tjupurrula, both of whom were significant figures in the Papunya Desert Art Movement.

 

Linda touches on global themes in her work, and represents contemporary issues affecting her peers, such as alcohol and money. A senior Pintupi woman, most of Linda's works were strictly traditional Pintupi style paintings until recently.  Linda also regularly paints Tjukurrpa stories related to the Tingari and the Emu Men. The Emu Men were Creation Ancestors who travelled the country during the Tingari or Dreaming era. The Emu was the totem of her father, Rintje Tjungurrayi and stepfather, Shorty Lungkata Tjungurrayi. The Tingari were ancestral spirits beings, who went on very long journeys, creating much of the desert landscape in Central Australia, and instructing the people about law and custom. Many paintings represented topographical maps where major Tingari events occurred - significant metaphysical stories combined with the artist's own ever-present memories of life in the Gibson Desert. Linda often incorporates many perspectives and stories into a single painting.  Linda's sense of composition and colour are also extraordinary. Linda's work is represented in public and private collections throughout Australia, USA and Europe. 

Works
Biography

EXHIBITIONS

2014

Linda Syddick Napaltjarri Solo Exhibition, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA, Australia

2008

Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA, Australia

2007

Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA, Australia

2006

Coo-ee Gallery, Sydney, NSW, Australia

2005

Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA, Australia

2004

Holy Holy Holy - Adelaide Festival, SA, Australia

2001

Greenaway Gallery, Adelaide, SA, Australia

2001

The Art of Place, Travelling Exhibition

1998

'Spirit Country' The California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, USA 

1998

Tjangkiya Linda Syddick, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, VIC, Australia

1998

Tjangkiya (Linda Syddick) Napaltjarri - Recent Paintings, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney, NSW, Australia

1996

Dreamings of The Desert: Aboriginal Dot Paintings, South Australian Art Gallery, Adelaide, SA, Australia

1996

Exploring Two Worlds - Hogarth, NSW, Australia

1996

Northern Territory Art Award, Darwin, NT, Australia

1996

Spirit & Place Exhibition - Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW, Australia

1995

Aboriginal Kunst, iut het hart van Australie, Holland

1995

Musee des Arts Oceanie et Afriques, Paris, France

1994

Heritage Commission, Canberra, ACT, Australia

1994

Contemporary Territory Exhibition, Museums & Galleries of the NT, Darwin, NT, Australia

1994

People & Places - 24 Hour Art Gallery, Darwin, NT, Australia

1994

Aboriginal and South Pacific Art Gallery, Sydney, NSW, Australia

1993

Perpetual Motion - Australian Tour

1993

Linden Museum, Stuttgart, Germany

1993

Perspecta - NSW Art Gallery, Sydney, NSW, Australia

1993

The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia

1991

Llewellyn Gallery Sante Fe, New Mexico, USA

1989

Hogarth Gallery, Sydney, NSW, Australia

COLLECTIONS

Art Gallery of S.A. Adelaide, SA, Australia

Art Galleries and Museums of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT, Australia

Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs, NT, Australia

Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Gatner Myer Aboriginal Art Collection, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Berndt Museum of Anthropology, WA, Australia

Diocese of Parramatta, NSW, Australia

Kaplan and Levi Collection, Seattle, USA

Musee national des Arts d'Afrique et d'Oceanie, Paris, France

Museum Victoria, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Richard Kelton Collection, USA

St Andrews Catholic Church, Marayong, NSW, Australia

St Joseph's Catholic Church, Hadleigh, Suffolk, England

St Patrick Parish Centre, Blacktown, NSW, Australia

St Vincents Private Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

The Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW, Australia

The Australian National Gallery, Canberra, ACT, Australia

The Dominician Monastery, New Norcia, WA, Australia

The Linden-Museum Stuttgart, Germany

Wollongong City Art Gallery, Wollongong, NSW, Australia

EXHIBITIONS

2014

Linda Syddick Napaltjarri Solo Exhibition, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA, Australia

2008

Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA, Australia

2007

Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA, Australia

2006

Coo-ee Gallery, Sydney, NSW, Australia

2005

Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA, Australia

2004

Holy Holy Holy - Adelaide Festival, SA, Australia

2001

Greenaway Gallery, Adelaide, SA, Australia

2001

The Art of Place, Travelling Exhibition

1998

'Spirit Country' The California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, USA 

1998

Tjangkiya Linda Syddick, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, VIC, Australia

1998

Tjangkiya (Linda Syddick) Napaltjarri - Recent Paintings, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney, NSW, Australia

1996

Dreamings of The Desert: Aboriginal Dot Paintings, South Australian Art Gallery, Adelaide, SA, Australia

1996

Exploring Two Worlds - Hogarth, NSW, Australia

1996

Northern Territory Art Award, Darwin, NT, Australia

1996

Spirit & Place Exhibition - Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW, Australia

1995

Aboriginal Kunst, iut het hart van Australie, Holland

1995

Musee des Arts Oceanie et Afriques, Paris, France

1994

Heritage Commission, Canberra, ACT, Australia

1994

Contemporary Territory Exhibition, Museums & Galleries of the NT, Darwin, NT, Australia

1994

People & Places - 24 Hour Art Gallery, Darwin, NT, Australia

1994

Aboriginal and South Pacific Art Gallery, Sydney, NSW, Australia

1993

Perpetual Motion - Australian Tour

1993

Linden Museum, Stuttgart, Germany

1993

Perspecta - NSW Art Gallery, Sydney, NSW, Australia

1993

The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia

1991

Llewellyn Gallery Sante Fe, New Mexico, USA

1989

Hogarth Gallery, Sydney, NSW, Australia

 AWARDS

2009

Finalist with Tingari Men at Wilkingkarra (Lake Mackay) - 26th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island Art Award

2008

Finalist with Big rain at Walukurritje - 25rd National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island Art Award

2006

Telstra General Painting Award, 23rd NATSIAA, Darwin, NT, Australia

2006

Finalist with Windmill - 23rd National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island Art Award

2003

Visual art grant $11,000 - Australia Council for the Arts

2000

Runner-up - The 5th. National Indigenous Heritage Art Award, ACT, Australia

1996

Northern Territory Art Award - Alice Springs, NT, Australia

1996

Two years - Visual Arts Fellowship, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Art Board, Australia Council for the Arts

1995

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Fellowship - Australia Council for the Arts

1995

Finalist with The Witch Doctor - 12th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island Art Award

1992

Finalist - Blake Prize for Religious Art, Sydney, NSW, Australia

1991

Finalist - Blake Prize for Religious Art, Sydney, NSW, Australia

1990

Finalist with Ngkarte Dreaming - Blake Prize for Religious Art, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Exhibitions
Bibliography

Victoria Lynn, ‘Australian Perspecta’ Art Gallery of NSW, 1993.

Dawn Mendham & Margie West, ‘Contemporary Territory’ Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, 1994.

Johnson, Vivien (1994). Aboriginal Artists of the Western Desert: A Biographical Dictionary. Roseville East, NSW: Craftsman House. ISBN 976-8097-81-7

Patrick Corbally Stourton, ‘Songlines and Dreaming’, Lund Humpries Publishing Ltd, London, 1996

Johnson, Vivien (1996). ‘Dreamings of the Desert: Aboriginal paintings of the Western Desert.’ Adelaide: Art Gallery of South Australia. ISBN 0-7308-3065-9

Dr Vivien Anderson, ‘Dreamings of the Desert’, Art Gallery of South Australia, 1996

‘Spirit Country’ The California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, USA, 1999

Holy Holy Holy – 13 contemporary artists explore the interaction between Christianity and Aboriginal culture (includes Linda Syddick Napaltjarri – ‘Tjangika Wukula’) (2004), Flinders University City Gallery, State Library of South Australia ISBN-0 7258 1102 1

Myers, Fred (2005). “Linda Syddick on Longing”. In Maxwell John Charlesworth, Françoise Dussart and Howard Morphy. Aboriginal religions in Australia: an anthology of recent writings. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 0-7546-5128-2