Sisters Girtie Huddleston & Eva Rogers
Gertie Huddleston jewel-like landscapes developed out of the acrylic art movement originally founded at Ngukurr in 1987. As ritual references in painting are inappropriate for women in this region, it was logical that Gertie and her sisters should embrace the familiar forms of their environment to paint. As a schoolgirl Gertie was impressed by the watercolours of Albert Namatjira and women artists such as Cordula Ebatarinja, whose paintings she saw in picture books.
Gertie’s typical works are like bountiful Gardens of Eden, celebrating nature’s great diversity of plants and animals. Her eye for exquisite detail and love of floral motifs is derived, she believes, from the fine embroidery work she and her sisters used to do for the Roper River Mission when they were young.
Her paintings also reflect a deep love and understanding of her Father’s country at Malanyboyboy (Boomerang Lagoon) and her Mother’s country around Numbulwar.
She gained this from first hand experience initially foot-walking through this country and occasionally travelling the coast by canoe between the Limmen and Rose Rivers.
With a true artist’s sensibility for land and forum Gertie Huddleston extends her repertoire far beyond her homelands to illustrate the unfamiliar landscapes that she has seen when flying over the Top End or travelling by bus as far afield as Western Australia. Although essentially a freshwater person via her Father’s line, she is also familiar with the saltwater from her travels to her other’s country and experiences as a hunter and gatherer. The totemic references in her landscapes remain unstated, however the explicit links between the seasons and the cycle of plants and animals that often connect the land with the sea’s bounty, is an important part of her visual commentary.
Gertie Huddlestone, Betty Roberts and Eva Rogers live at Ngukurr, an Aboriginal community along the Roper River. Gertie was born ‘about a mile’ down the road from Ngukurr in 1933.
In 1996 Gertie’s work was exhibited in conjunction with the Rebecca Hossack Gallery in London, with great response. All the sisters have been exhibited in National exhibitions in South Australia and New South Wales.
Winner,Telstra 16th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Darwin(the Open Painting Section,1999)
National Gallery of Australia (painted 2001, acquired 2010)
National Gallery of Victoria (painted 1996, acquired 1997)
Museum and Art Galleries of The Northern Territory, Darwin
Flinders Art Museum, Adelaide
The Gantner Myer Collection of Aboriginal Art, San Francisco
Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth
Paul Simon Collection, New York