Aboriginal Artist – Susie Bootja Bootja

Susie Bootja Bootja is from the Balgo community in far north Western Australia. The Balgo community, located at Wirrimanu (Balgo Hills) on the northern edge of the Tanami and Great Sandy Deserts, is one of the most isolated of Australia’s desert settlements.
Bootja Bootja, along with other Balgo Artist, created one of the most distinctive regional styles known in Aboriginal Art. Bootja Bootja is considered by many to be one of the most innovative and daring painters working in Central Australia today. She is well known, as is all Balgo Artist, for using of extremely vibrant colors and strong ionic designs.
Bootja Bootja’s persona is as colorful as her paintings. She enjoys telling stories about playing at the waterhole of Kangingarra where she grew up. She worked at one of the early mission stations in the kitchen making bread and helping to serve food to the children. There she met herfirst husband and had herfirst child, Lucy. Her husband was killed on a mustering trip due to intertribal conflict and she was left a widow. Later she married Mick Gill, also a Balgo artist and had another six children.
Bootja Bootja was one of thefirst women painters at Balgo. She along with the help of her husband Mick Gill, their son Matthew Gill Tjupurrula and fellow artist Sunfly Tjampitjin became pioneers of early painting at Balgo. Her eldest son, Matthew, with Sister Alice Dempsey from the Street John’s Adult Education Center, started the Art Center in Balgo in 1985 and Balgo art became accessible to the outside world.
Since then Bootja Bootja has painted fruitfully and is well known for her use of ostentatious greens, pinks and blues. She began using her signature dotted color fields in 1996 and her style continues to flourish.
James Cowan, in his book “Balgo: New Directions” has described the work of Susie Bootja Bootja as follows: “She delights in formless or abstract lines. She is more interested in painting content than st…