“The Witchdoctor and the Windmill” explores the life of the Pintupi artist, Linda Syddick Napaltjarri.
After her father’s death in a revenge spearing, Linda came in from the Pintupi homelands and was taught to paint by her adoptive father, Shorty Tjungurray.
Her insistence she had Shorty’s permission to paint his stories cast her as a maverick and led to a rift between family and community.
This narrative documentary explores the personal and community struggles and larger themes of colliding cultures as the Pintupi confronted new and bewildering intrusions into country; atomic testing, art as gestalt for grief, fractured families, and loss of country.
Her painting is a visual record of first contact in the 1940s as the Pintupi began their first encounters with White Australia.
As the first Pintupi Modernist and last senior female artist of her era, Linda’s stories are unique portable heritage of our national memory and signal the dynamic nature of the Dreaming.