The Witch Doctor and the Windmill – Linda Syddick Napaltjarri
The Witch Doctor and the Windmill is a solo exhibition showcasing the artworks of one of Australia’s most important living Aboriginal artists, Linda Syddick Napaltjarri.
At approximately 80 years of age Linda is one of the last generation to grow up pre-contact and has vivid memories of when her family first encountered western civilisation. She recalls with extreme clarity their first encounter with an automobile and of her step father offering the ‘snorting, steaming monsters’ a drink of water as a peace offering.
Syddick is an extremely traditional woman whose upbringing was heavily influenced by both the missions and traditional Aboriginal culture. Her works are a fusion of Christian and Aboriginal traditional themes and motifs. Linda’s art epitomises the significance of what occurs when one culture clashes with another at first contact. Her place in history is unique and her artwork reflects this. Her paintings of windmills depict her family’s first experience with one of these ‘demons’ and recalls how their Witch Doctor attempted bush magic to subdue the demon.
Throughout her career Linda has been a finalist on four different occasions in the Blake Prize for Religious Art, one of Australia foremost art prizes. Her works are held in major public collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Art Gallery of South Australia.
On Saturday April 22, Director Mike Mitchell will host a talk discussing the life of the artist and reflecting on his personal experiences working with Linda. This will be held in the gallery from 2:00 pm.