Collection: Lindsay Bird Mpetyane

DOB: c.1935/1942
Born: Ungoola NT
Tribal: Eastern Anmatyerre
Community: Utopia, NT

Born c. 1935/1945 – at Ungoola (Bushy Park Station), Lindsay Bird worked as a shepherd and stockman. When the Utopia women were introduced to batik production, in the late 1970s, In 1987, he began painting with acrylic on canvas.

As a senior Lawman, he can depict many themes of men’s law in his paintings. His canvases, of which many are very large, are imposing with their boldness of colour selection and harmonious design. His paintings include the stories of Perentie Lizard, Snake, Mulga Seed and Honey Ant.

Lindsay is an important tribal leader in the Utopia District and is the headman at Mulga Bore Outstation. Married to Mavis Petyarre, they have three daughters, Rosie, Jessie and Karen Bird. Lindsay was the only male to participate in the silk batik project at Utopia in the 1980’s. He started painting in 1987 with other men and women of his camp.

Lindsay’s paintings are both iconic and linear. He uses traditional symbols with background dotting of ochre yellow, red, black and white, or paints his Spear Straightening paintings with straight lines. He is also known for under painting the canvas usually in grey or ochre making his paintings quite distinct.

His paintings are in major public and private collections nationally and internationally. 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, 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.

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Museum of Victoria, Melbourne
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
The Holmes a Court Collection, Perth
Riddoch Art Gallery, Mount Gambier, SA
The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, USA

Solo Exhibitions:
1989 Syme –Dodson Gallery, Sydney
1991 Utopia Art, Sydney
2002 Anmatyerre Men, World Vision Gallery, Sydney

Group Exhibitions:
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 Robert Holmes a Court Collection 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 Eighth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT
1991 Flash Pictures, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
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
1999 Artists of Utopia, Tandanya, SA
2001 Young Presidents Organization University, Westin Hotel, Pitt Street, Sydney
2002 Art and Soul Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
2002 The Cove Gallery, Portland, Oregon, USA
2002 Urban Wine Works, Portland, Oregon, USA
2002 Mary’s Woods, Portland, Oregon, USA
2002 New City Merchants, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
2003 Art and Soul Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
2003 The Cove Gallery, Portland, Oregon, USA
2003 Mary’s Woods, Portland, Oregon, USA
2003 Art from the Dreamtime, Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon, USA Research Centre
2004 USA exhibition; Portland, Nashville, Knoxville, Hartford, Greenwich, New York and Philadelphia

Brody, A. 1990, Utopia: a Picture Story, 88 silk Batiks from the Robert Holmes a Court Collection.
Johnson, V. 1994, Aboriginal Artists of the Western Desert, A Biographical Dictionary.
Isaacs Jennifer. Spirit Country, Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art, Hardie Grant Books, 1999

Selected exhibitions:
1989 (first solo exhibition) Utopia Arts, Sydney; 1990 “Utopia – A Picture Story” – travelling exhibition Dublin, Cork, Limerick, U.K.; 1991 “Flash Picture” – National Gallery of Australia; 1992 (series of canvases) touring Italy and Japan; 1993 Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; 1994 Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs; 1999 “Spirit Country” Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, U.S.A; 1999, 2000, 2002 Chapel off Chapel Gallery, Melbourne; 2003 Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs.