DOB: c. 1937 - 2021
Born: Lake Mackay, WA
LANGUAGE GROUP: Pintupi
COMMUNITY: Haasts Bluff, NT
Linda Syddick Napaltjarri was born in the area of Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay). Her mother was Wanala Nangala and her father was Rintja Tjungurrayi. She was part of the last generation of Pintupi people who grew up in a completely traditional life and experienced first contact with European Australia.
Linda's paintings are inspired by both her traditional nomadic life in the desert, and the Dreaming of her father and stepfather. Linda's father was Rintje Tjungurrayi who was killed by a revenge spearing party in accordance with customary Law when Linda was about eighteen months old. Her stepfather, artist Lungkarta Shorty Tjungurrayi, subsequently brought her up.
Before Lungkarta died in 1985, he instructed Linda to carry on his work and paint his Dreaming. And so it was that in 1986 her two Uncles Uta Uta Tjangala and Nosepeg Tjupurrula taught Linda the art of painting.
Linda often painted the Dreaming story of the Tingari and the Emu Men. The Emu Men are ancestral beings that roamed the landscape during the Dreamtime or Creation Period. The Emu was the totem of her father, Rintje Tjungurrayi, and stepfather, Lungkarta Shorty Tjungurrayi. The Tingari are ancestral spirit beings, who went on very long journeys, creating much of the desert landscape in Central Australia, and instructing the people about law and custom.
Linda painted Country mostly around Lake Mackay, which has been central to the cultural and spiritual life of the Pintupi people for thousands of years. People used to camp around its shores during their seasonal journeys and gather there for ceremonies. Lake Mackay was where Linda was born and traveled for most of her early childhood. It is a large dry salt lake, which straddles the WA-NT border, northwest of Kintore.
Linda's works are quirky and highly collectable. They are not only fine artworks with superb composition, line, texture and movement, but also idiosyncratic representations of the artist's remarkable stories and experiences. She was a unique voice and sadly missed.
LINDA'S KANGAROO MAN STORY
Kangaroo Man was one of the ancestral spirits from the dreamtime. These spirits had the gift of morphogenesis. They could change their shape from being amorphous and unseen to the physical shape of animals and birds.
Kangaroo is a mans dreaming, and part of it forms the law describing how a kangaroo should be cooked, with fierce penalties applying to any man not following this edict. This is complied with even today, and determines all the aspects of dealing with and sharing out all parts of the kangaroo once it has been killed.
Linda's step father, Shorty Lungkata Tjungarrayi, was descended from the Ancestral Kangaroo men and therefore owned many of the stories and dreamings associated with them.
Before he died in 1985, Shorty passed on many of the stories and permission to paint them to Linda. In turn, Linda will hand down this information to a young member of her own family. In this way, part of the spiritual background of Aboriginality will be preserved as a lasting testament.
Sometimes Linda paints two or more Kangaroo men. In these paintings, Linda is depicting the spirits of important and influencial men in her life. The two main ones were her father, Rinte Tjungarrayi, who was killed by a revenge spearing party when she was a baby. And her step father, Shorty Lungkata Tjungarryi, with whom her family walked out of the desert in 1945. Linda depicts them travelling across her traditional country around Lake MacKay, Western Australia with the hot Australian sun above.
This information was written by Linda's husband, Russel Sim, as dictated to him by Linda as the artworks were created.
- Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs
- Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, USA
- Art Galleries and Museums of the Northern Territory, Darwin
- Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
- Australian Museum, Sydney
- Australian National Gallery, Canberra
- Berndt Museum of Anthropology, Perth
- Diocese of Parramatta, NSW
- Dominician Monastery, New Norcia, WA
- Ganter Myer Aboriginal Art Collection, Melbourne
- Kaplan and Levi Collection, Seattle, USA
- Linden-Museum Stuttgart, Germany
- Musee national des Arts d'Afrique et d'Oceanie, Paris
- Museum Victoria, Melbourne
- Richard Kelton Collection, Santa Monica, USA
- Sarrita King Collection
- St Andrews Catholic Church, Marayong, NSW
- St Joseph's Catholic Church, Hadleigh, Suffolk, England
- St Patrick Parish Centre, Blacktown, NSW
- St Vincents Private Hospital, Melbourne
- Wollongong City Art Gallery, Wollongong, NSW
Awards and Recognition
2010 27th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2009 26th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2008 25th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2006 23rd NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist and General Painting Award
2004 Alice Springs Art Award - Highly Esteemed
2003 Visual Arts Grant, Australia Council for the Arts
2000 5th National Indigenous Heritage Art Award, Canberra - Runner up
1997 Commission for the Casino in Sydney
1996 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Board, Australia Council for the Arts: Joint runner up: National Indigenous Heritage Award
1996 Northern Territory Art Award - Alice Springs - Winner
1996 Australia Council for the Arts: Two years Visual Arts Fellowship
1995 12th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
1995 Australia Council for the Arts, One year fellowship
1992 Linda Syddick was the subject of a portrait painted by Robert Hannaford, which was a finalist in Australia's premiere portrait competition, the 1992 Archibald Prize
1992 Blake Prize for Religious Art, Sydney - Finalist
1991 Blake Prize for Religious Art, Sydney - Finalist
1990 Blake Prize for Religious Art, Sydney - Finalist
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2014 The Remarkable Life of Linda Syddick Napaltjarri (Solo Exhibition), Japingka Gallery, Perth
Selected Group Exhibitions:
2021 50 Years of Papunya Tula Artists, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2021 Big Names Little Paintings, Cooee Art Gallery, Sydney
2020 Pintupi Masters - Enduring Dreamings, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2020 Director's Choice 2020, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 International Women's Day, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2018 20/20 Vision: 20 Years 20 Women, Brenda Colahan Fine Art, Sydney
2008 Japingka Gallery, Perth
2007 Japingka Gallery, Perth
2006 Coo-ee Art Gallery, Sydney
2005 Japingka Gallery, Perth
2004 Holy Holy Holy - Adelaide Festival, Adelaide
2001 Greenaway Gallery, Adelaide
2001 The Art of Place, Travelling Exhibition
1998 Spirit Country - The California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA, USA
1998 Tjangkiya Linda Syddick, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne
1998 Tjangkiya (Linda Syddick) Napaltjarri - Recent Paintings, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
1996 Dreamings of The Desert: Aboriginal Dot Paintings, South Australian Art Gallery, Adelaide
1996 Exploring Two Worlds - Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
1996 Northern Territory Art Award, Darwin
1996 Spirit & Place Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
1995 Aboriginal Kunst, iut het hart van Australie, Groningen, The Netherlands
1995 Musee des Arts Oceanie et Afriques, Paris
1994 Heritage Commission, Canberra
1994 Contemporary Territory Exhibition, Museums & Galleries of the Northern Territory, Darwin
1994 People & Places, 24 Hour Art Gallery, Darwin
1994 Aboriginal and South Pacific Art Gallery, Sydney
1993 Perpetual Motion - Australian Tour
1993 Linden Museum, Stuttgart, Germany
1993 Perspecta, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
1993 The Australian National University, Canberra
1991 Llewellyn Gallery, Sante Fe, New Mexico, USA
1991 Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs
1989 Hogarth Gallery, Sydney