Tjungarrayi, ET at Lake MacKay, 2000
Linda’s spirit figure series has been inspired by the cinema production ET. Throughout the film ET constantly refers to “going home”. Linda interpreted this as an ancestral spirit disassociated from its traditional home. To the Aboriginal people of the Central Desert it is a commonly held belief that the land for which one is the traditional custodian always has a calling. This is a two way belief that one is called by the ancestors and the country as one has to constantly sing one’s country. lt is indicative of the fusion between the contemporary world and the traditional, of the real world and the spiritual realm.
In this painting Linda has depicted the spirit of ET flying in on a visit to Lake Mackay in Western Australia, near the N.T border about 600 km north-west of Alice Springs. The site is in the home lands of the Pintupi people and is the place where Linda was born. Linda has depicted Lake Mackay as the straight brown lines which form a square around ET and are joined at the corners by circles, representing meeting places. The abutting U shapes are the large group of people who have come out to greet him.
Linda’s paintings are rich pictorial works, that reflect the influence of Western civilization. From ET to religious influence, her works beautifully and with wit and style show how she incorporate new elements and events into her art. Most of Linda’s paintings are about country and centred around Lake MacKay, a place where she was born. This area was central to the cultural and spiritual life of the Pintupi people for thousands of years and they would travel to the area on their seasonal journeys, camping on the shores and gathering there for ceremonies.
Lake MacKay is a large dry salt lake that straddles the WA-NT border, north-west of Kintore. On occasion it would fill with water and becomes blue, ‘like sea water’. When this occurs birds and animals flock to the area.
Tjungarrayi, ET at MacKay, sitting down with whole mob of family is Linda’s description of this wonderful painting. Tjungarrayi is skin group of her father and his brothers. Here she has made her father and ET one of the same.