1935 - 2013
Born: Mungapunju, Yuendumu, NT
LANGUAGE GROUP: Warlpiri
COMMUNITY: Yuendumu, NT
Paddy Japaljarri Stewart came from Mungapunju in Australia, just south of Yuendumu in the Northern Territory. As a young man he worked on cattle properties at Mount Allen, Mount Dennison and other parts of Australia's 'top end'. He acquired the nickname 'Cookie' while working as a chef in Papunya. At the Yuendumu School he taught both kardiya (non-Aboriginal) and yapa (Aboriginal) children to paint, Jukurrpa (Dreaming), traditional dances, boomerang-making, how to track native animals, how to make wax used in sand painting, and other aspects of traditional culture. He also drove the school bus, participated in the council and joined the Night Patrol, which proved important in policing the community.
Paddy drew and painted for a long time (his works included the Yuendumu School Doors). He served as the Chairman of Warlukurlangu Artists Committee and continued to paint well into his old age.
In 1988 The Power Gallery at Sydney University selected six Warlpiri men from Yuendumu, including Paddy, to create a ground painting for the 'Magiciens de la Terre' exhibition, which was installed in Paris's Georges Pompidou Centre in May 1989. The work received international acclaim.
Under the guidance of Northern Editions Printmaker Basil Hall, from Northern Territory University, and collaborating with Paddy Sims, in 2000 Paddy produced 30 etchings of the Yuendumu Doors. The first printing of the etchings, on a single sheet of paper, was exhibited with the Yuendumu Doors themselves in Alice Springs. The full set of etchings, issued launched in 2001, won the Telstra 16th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award for works on paper.
Paddy passed away in 2013