Lennard Walker Australian, Pitjantjara, b. 1946
Lennard was born at Tjukaltjara on the central northern border of Spinifex circa 1946. Tjukaltjara is an extension of a massive Seven Sisters site centred at Kuru Ala (eyes open) which could describe the state of alertness required by the sisters being relentlessly stalked across great tracts of central Australia by the obsessively amorous Nyiiru. Lennard’s country lies at the crossover of the endless dunes of Spinifex and the ironstone ranges to the north punctuated by a series of spectacular breakaways and mesas. Women from the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Spinifex Lands regularly convene together at Kuru Ala to practice Women’s ceremonies. In keeping with strict protocol the women first must ask Mr. Walker for permission to enter his country. Diplomatically, Mr. Walker never refuses.
Unlike most born in country artists Lennard moved out of Spinifex with his extended family to the Warburton Mission, established in 1934. Lennard spent time at the Mission school and picked up a good deal of conversational English. This was to serve him well later during the new political era that ensued after the transfer from mission authority to Aboriginal “self-management”. Lennard’s family were comparative strangers in Warburton and took the first opportunity to move to Cundeelee Mission to join the other Spinifex families there.
In the early years of Tjuntjuntjara Lennard married a Warburton woman, Ngalpinkga Simms, who settled in Tjuntjuntjara with Lennard. Lennard painted on the inaugural men’s native title painting, most other men’s collaboratives, joint works with other male painters and wife, Ngalpingka. In style and form Lennard continues from where he began, a ruggedly strong and resolute painter - the image of his country.