Born: c. 1942
Language Group: Eastern Anmatyerre
Country: Ilkawerne , Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen, Batik on Silk
Subjects: Tyankern (Mulga Berries), Ntang Artety (Mulga Seed), Ahakeye (Bush Plum), Utnea (Carpet Snake), Arekwarr (Wild Pigeon), Little Wallaby, Witchetty grub, Arrkernk (Bloodwood Seed), Elcudjera (Prickle), Arlkeny (Men's Body Paint), Inpernp (Yellow Throated Bird), Spear Straightening
One of few male Utopia artists (although under Lindsay's instruction there are more than previous years), Lindsay is an important tribal leader of his country, Ilkawerne, in the Utopia District which is North East of Alice Springs. Married to Mavis Petyarre, they have three daughters, Rosie, Jessie and Karen Bird Ngale.
As an important tribal leader of his country, Lindsay must choose a successor to continue to teach new generations about the lore's and stories of his culture. Though light hearted and full of good humour he acknowledges the dim possibilities of his people eventually losing their interest in their rich culture and history. Painting for Lindsay is not only a passion, but a sincere desire to continue his legacy of teachings and encourage the growth and interest of the Ilkawerne youngsters.
After the Utopia batik movement of which Lindsay was the only male to participate in, in 1987 Lindsay started painting with a number of women and a handful of men including Louie Pwerle, Gloria Petyarre and Ada Bird. His paintings are both iconic and linear and close to his spirit. He uses the traditional symbols to tell his stories on canvas, including concentric circles which represent the significant 'place' of the story (for example the Bush Plum tree) or a sacred part of the men's story. Lindsay also uses his four traditional colours, consisting of the two ochres (yellow and red), black and white, each with specific meaning. He is also known for under painting the canvas usually in grey. Black, used in most Utopia art backgrounds, is a symbolic colour to Lindsay, where grey is a neutral colour for him touse. This makes his paintings quite unique.
Over the years, Lindsay has been an amazing source of information to Mbantua, enabling the traditions of his culture to be written down and passed on to art lovers throughout the world. Lindsay's enthusiasm for teaching about culture has also been captured on DVD, by Mbantua Media Department, with Lindsay's permission. The DVD, now available for purchase, was presented as a gift to HRH Prince of Wales on his Royal Australian Tour in 2005.
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
The Holmes á Court Collection, Perth
Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, USA
Kluge-Ruhe Collection, USA
Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs
Museum of Victoria, Melbourne
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Parliament House Art Collections, Canberra
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
|1989||Syme Dodson Gallery, Sydney|
|2002||Anmatyerre Men, World Vision, Walkabout Gallery, Sydney|
|2003||Lindsay Bird, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs|
|2007||Lindsay Bird Mpetyane, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs|
|1988||The Fifth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin|
|1990||Utopia A Picture Story, an exhibition of 88 works on silk from the Holmes á Court Collection by Utopia artists which toured Eire and Scotland|
|1990||Tagari Lia, My Family, Contemporary Aboriginal Art 1990- Australia, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow, UK|
|1990||Contemporary Art from the Robert Holmes a court Collection, Harvard University of Minnesota, Lake Oswego Center for Arts USA|
|1991||Aboriginal Art and Spirituality, High Court, Canberra|
|1991||The Eighth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin|
|1991||Flash Pictures, National Gallery of Australia|
|1994||Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Exhibition, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs|
|1998||Dreamings Exhibition, Vlaams-Europeesch, Brussels, Belgium|
|1998||Dreamings Exhibition, Spazio Pitti Arte, Florence, Italy|
|1998||Art Gallery Kunsthuys, The Netherlands|
|1998||Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs|
|1999||Spirit Country, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, USA|
|1999||Artists of Utopia, Tandanya, SA|
|2001||Young Presidents Organization University, Westin Hotel, Sydney|
|2002||Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: Art and Soul Gallery, Nashville TN; 'The Cove Gallery' Portland OR; Urban Wine Works, Portland OR; Mary's Woods, Portland OR|
|2003||Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: New City Merchants, Knoxville TN; Art and Soul Gallery, Nashville TN; 'The Cove Gallery', Portland OR; Contemporary Aboriginal Art Event, Umpqua Bank, Portland OR; Mary's Woods, Portland OR; Art From The Dreamtime, Portland Art Museum, Portland OR|
|2004||Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: Portland, Nashville, Knoxville, Hartford, Greenwich, New York and Philadelphia|
|2004||'The Utopia Men', Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs|
|2004||Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs, NT, opened by the Honorable Robert Hill|
|2005||Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs, NT, opened by the Honorable Robert Hill|
|2005||'Small Wonders', Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT|
|2006||Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs, NT, opened by the Honorable Robert Hill|
|Brody, A.||Utopia: a Picture Story 88 Silk Batiks from the Robert Holmes á Court Collection, Heytesbury Holdings Ltd, Perth|
|Johnson V.||1994 The Dictionary of Western Desert Artists, Craftsman House, East Roseville, New South Wales|
|Isaacs, J.||Spirit Country, Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art, Hardie Grant Books © 1999|
Lindsay paints the story of the Ahakeye (Bush Plum) and Utnea (Carpet Snake). This is a very important story for Lindsay that belongs to his country, Ilkawerne. This story, its songs, dances and symbols have been passed down to Lindsay from his father. The ahakeye, called bush plum in English by Lindsay, is also known as the native currant or citrus. It belongs to the canthium attenuatum shrub which grows about 3m high. This shrub produces small white flowers, deep green citrus-like leaves and the ahakeye which are black when ripe and very small. This fruit is favoured for its sweet taste and can be reconstituted in water if dry.
Lindsay also paints the story of a caterpillar or grub (tyape) that lives in the Bush Plum tree.
Lindsay: "The story is about a witchetty grub that lives in the Bush Plum Tree. It's not really witchetty grub. You can't eat it. Might be that caterpillar grub. It just crawl all over that Bush Plum Tree. Big story about this one. That my Dreaming too!"
Concentric circles represent the site of the Bush Plum tree, parallel lines stemming from the concentric circles represent song lines or travelling lines of the Ilkawerne people associated with this story, white dots represent the flower of the bush plum. Curved lines represent the impression that the grub makes when it falls out of the Bush Plum tree.
Lindsay also depicts Utnea (carpet snakes) slowly making his way through the country as shown by the wavy lines.