Lindsay Bird Mpetyane

Lindsay Bird Mpetyane

Lindsay Bird Mpetyane

Born: c. 1942

Deceased: 2024

Language Group: Eastern Anmatyerre

Country: Ilkawerne (El-go-an-na), Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs, Northern Territory

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen, Batik on Silk

Subjects: Ahakeye (Bush Plum) and Elcudjera (Prickles), Ahakeye (Bush Plum) Dreaming, Arekwarr (Wild Pigeon) and Ahakeye (Bush Plum), Arlkeny (Men's Body Paint), Arrkernk (Bloodwood Seed), Ntang Artety (Mulga Seed) Dreaming, Spear Straightening Dreaming, Tyankern (Mulga Berries) and Ahakeye (Bush Plum) Dreaming, Tyankern (Mulga Berries) and Arekwarr (Wild Pigeon) , Tyankern (Mulga Berries) and Elcudjera (Prickles)

Lindsay was one of the few male Utopia artists, although under his instruction there were more than in previous years. He was an important tribal leader of his country, Ilkawerne (El-go-an-na), in the Utopia District, which is northeast of Alice Springs. Lindsay was married to Mavis Petyarre and they had three daughters: Rosie, Jessie and Karen Bird Ngale.
As an important tribal leader of his country, Lindsay had to choose a successor to continue teaching new generations about the lore and stories of his culture. Though light-hearted and full of good humor, he acknowledged the dim possibilities of his people eventually losing interest in their rich culture and history. Painting for Lindsay was not only a passion but also a sincere desire to continue his legacy of teachings and encourage the growth and interest of the Ilkawerne (El-go-an-na) youngsters.
After the Utopia batik movement, in which Lindsay was the only male participant, he began painting in 1987 with several women and a handful of men, including Louie Pwerle, Gloria Petyarre and Ada Bird. his paintings were both iconic and linear and close to his spirit. He used traditional symbols to tell his stories on canvas, including concentric circles representing the significant 'place' of the story (for example, the Bush Plum tree) or a sacred part of the men's story. Lindsay also used his four traditional colours, consisting of the two ochres (yellow and red), black and white, each with specific meaning. He was also known for underpainting the canvas, usually in grey. Black, used in most Utopia art backgrounds, was a symbolic colour to Lindsay, while grey was a neutral colour for him to use. This made his paintings quite unique.
Over the years, Lindsay was 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 was also captured on DVD by the Mbantua Media Department, with Lindsay's permission. The DVD was presented as a gift to HRH Prince of Wales on his Royal Australian Tour in 2005.
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, WA
The Holmes à Court Collection, Perth, WA
The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, USA
The Kluge-Rhue Collection, University of West Virginia, USA
Mbantua Gallery Collection, Alice Springs, NT
Museum of Victoria, Melbourne, VIC
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT
Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra, ACT
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, NSW
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, QLD
The Fifth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT
Syme Dodson Gallery, Sydney, NSW
Utopia - A Picture Story, an Exhibition of 88 works on Silk by Utopian artists, Holmes à Court Collection, toured Eire and Scotland
Contemporary Aboriginal Art from the Robert Holmes à Court Collection, Carpenter Center, Harvard University, Boston, USA
Tagari Lia - My Family, Contemporary Aboriginal Art 1990 - Australia, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow, UK
Aboriginal Art and Spirituality, High Court of Australia, Canberra, ACT
The Eighth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT
Young Presidents Organization University, Westin Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions
Anmatyerre Men, World Vision Walkabout, Sydney, NSW
Lindsay Bird Mpetyane, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT
The Utopia Men, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT
Small Wonders, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT
Evolution of Utopia - opened by the Honorable Robert Hill, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT
Lindsay Bird Mpetyane, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT
Brody, A.
(1990) Utopia: a Picture Story, 88 Silk Batiks from the Robert Holmes à Court Collection, Heytesbury Holdings, Perth, WA
Johnson, V.
(1994) Aboriginal Artists of the Western Desert, A Biographical Dictionary, Craftsman House
Isaacs, J.
(1999) Spirit Country, Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art, Hardie Grant Books ©