Linda Syddick Australian, Pitjantjatjara, b. 1936
Linda's paintings are inspired by both her traditional normadic life in the desert and the Tjukurrpa of her father and stepfather, as well as the Christianity she encounted through the Lutheran Mission at Hassts Bluff mission-run Ration Station in the late 1940's.
Linda was born to a Pitjantjatjara mother, Wanala Nangala, from Pulu Rockhole in WA, and Pintupi father Riinytye Tjungurrayi, whose Country was on the shores of Lake Mackay. After Linda's father was killed by a revenge spearign party when Linda was a toddler, Linda's mother took Linda east to Walungurru region, around 1943. Wanala married again to Shorty lungkata Tjungarrayi. Known as a kind man, Shorty Lungkata raised Linda as his own. She grew up in a traditional lifestyle, walking the Pintupi homelands with her family and gaining knowledge of her country. Eventually, as a result of terrible drought and increasing pressure from encroaching Europeans, the family journeyed an incredible distance east to reach the ration depot run by the Lutheran Missionaries at Hassts Bluff. About ten years later, they travelled north to Papunya, what was then a goverment Reserve. Shorty Lungkarta Tjungarrayi was one of the last men to join the other artist while living in Papunya, speaking no English at all.
As Linda grew up, and before he died, he instructed her carefully so she could carry on his work and paint his Tjukurrpa, such as the Emu Dreaming at Warukurrithie Rockhole, the Tingarri Cycles. He painted blue-tounge lizard, goannam bush banana, snake and bandicoot, and the Tjapaltjarri Brothers. Shorty Lungkarta Tjungarrayi became a famous early Western Desert painter until his death in 1986.
A strong minded and independant woman,, Linda recalled her first experience of painting in the Papunya schoolroom. She began painting seriously for Papunya Tula Artist in the early 1980's under her fathers tutelage. She continued to develop her style under the guidance of some of the other great masters such as her uncles, Nosepeg Tjupurrula and Uta Uta Tjangla. Linda married several times. Her second husband was Musty Syddick (Cedick), also an occassional painter for Papunya Tila Artist in the 1970's. Linda remarried after his death but retained Syddick as her last name. She had two daughters, Ruby and Irene.
Linda Syddick is an innovator and deeply religious. Her paintings reflect an unusual syncretic approach, synthesising both her knowledge of the Tjukurrpa and her staunch Christian beliefs. In 1990 she travelled to Sydney to see her painting Ngkarte Dreaming hung in the annual Blake Prize for Religious Art adn included in a travelling exhibition of 37 paintings to tour the eastern states, She has been a finalist for the Blake Prize and Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander award and she won the Painting Category at the 23rd Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award in 2006.