Extraordinary Aboriginal artist, Linda Syddick Napaltjarri, is having a solo exhibition of her acclaimed work, with The Witch Doctor and the Windmill at Mitchell Fine Art, 5 April – 6 May.
One of Australia’s most important living Aboriginal artists, the octogenarian is one of the last generation of indigenous people who grew up prior to contact with Europeans. One of her memories as a child is when her stepfather first saw an automobile and offered the ‘snorting, steaming monster’ a drink of water as a peace offering.
It’s this type of cultural clash, when traditional culture meets a foreign force, that informs the artworks of Syddick Napaltjarri, with her paintings fusing Christian influences of Aboriginal missions with traditional themes and motifs from her native culture. An unusual perspective is portrayed in the paintings, with the land and country always done 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.
The windmills of the exhibition title refer to Syddick Napaltjarri’s family’s first experience of one of these ‘demons’ and how the tribe’s Witch Doctor attempted bush magic to try to subdue the demons.
Linda Syddick Napaltjarri has been a finalist four times in the Blake Prize for Religious Art – one of the country’s most prestigious art prizes. Her works are highly sought after by major art galleries, and she’s represented in The National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the Art Gallery of South Australia. The Witch Doctor and the Windmill is a wonderful opportunity for Brisbane residents to see her uplifting work.
Need to know - On Saturday, 22 April at 2pm, Mike Mitchell, Director of Mitchell Fine Art, will host a Director’s Talk discussing the life of the artist and reflecting on his personal experiences working with her.
View the exhibition online
By Vicki Englund
Mitchell Fine Art is a valued partner of Must Do Brisbane.com