After her sell-out exhibition last year, Lindy Brodie has opened her second solo show at Suzanne O’Connell Gallery in Brisbane, Still Life: Series Two.
“When I go to the bush, I like to do painting: wildflowers, bush tucker, bush medicine, all that. We go for a ride, we have a look at the bush medicine, mintapa (ant pit), bush fire burning. After, I am still thinking about it – so I do painting of the wild flowers.
Sometimes I paint flowers from the shop or people’s gardens, whitefella flowers. Whitefella flowers are different from bush flowers, they’ve got a different shape, different colours, they grow at different times. They don’t grow in the bush – you need to plant the seeds. In the bush, the seeds are carried with the wind and with the birds – birds eat them flowers and carry the seeds. They grow themselves, those wildflowers.
On the way to work, I ask the art centre mob to pull over on the bridge – to get the deep red flowers. They only grow sometimes. We drive all around Tennant Creek looking for flowers, all the way up to Mary Ann Dam, sometimes you can just find them on the side of the road. There’s blue ones, bright pink ones and little white ones, there are yellow flowers growing on my fence at home. We bring them back to the art centre and I can do that painting. I set up the table like at home, I paint my mug, my paintbrushes, the scotch biscuits, fruit, sometimes I have Minties so I paint those too.
I paint the things I see, first it was the train that goes up and down from Alice Springs to Tennant Creek, then my Country, now the flowers. I like to paint to remember all the bush flowers I see and teach my daughter. I come to the art centre for something good to do, to sit with family, when I come here, I don’t worry about the other things, just about the painting. It makes me feel alright.”
– Lindy Nungarrayi Brodie on her creative practice.
Still Life, Lindy Brodie, 2023
With her Still Lifes Lindy Brodie brings the desert into a domestic space. In adopting the genre of Still Life painting to depict bush medicine and flowers, Brodie portrays elements of Indigenous knowledge within the paradigm of Western visual culture. In this sense, Brodie’s Still Lifes exist between two worlds; bush and town, Warumungu way and whitefella way. She talks of a juxtaposition between wildflowers – from the bush, and ‘whitefella flowers’ – bought in bunches from the shop or cultivated in gardens.
Brodie’s life is closely linked to the Barkly Region and her broader oeuvre speaks to her deep knowledge of her land and its history. Brodie’s work often refers to the development of the Barkly region, be it depictions of her grandparents living on Country and seeing whitefellas for the first time in the 1930s, the ANZACs establishing encampments along the Stuart Highway in the 1940s, planes above the flooded expanse of the Barkly tablelands or the Ghan travelling between Tennant Creek and Alice Springs. Brodie’s Landscapes contain a juxtaposition between the endless, unknowable desert, and human efforts to conquer it, and like her Still Lifes, exist between two worlds, traversing the line where Warumungu and whitefella history intercept.
Brodie’s is a Warumungu woman from Alroy Downs. Brodie began her career in Alice Springs at Jukurrpa Arts before moving to Tennant Creek to join Julalikari Arts in 2003. Finally, she joined Barkly Regional Arts in 2012, becoming a founding member of the Tartukula Artists.
Still Life: Series Two is on show online and at Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, Brisbane from 15th April – 27th May.
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