Susie Bootja Bootja Napaltjarri

Susie Bootja Bootja Napaltjarri
Bornc.1935 (2019-01-19UTC16:35)
Kurtal, south-west of Balgo, Western Australia
Died16 January 2003
Known forPainting

Susie Bootja Bootja Napaltjarri (also referred to as Susie Bootja Bootja Napangardi,[1] Napangarti,[2] or Napangati)[3] (c. 1935 – 16 January 2003) was an Indigenous artist from Australia's Western Desert region. Born south-west of Balgo, Western Australia, in the 1950s Susie Bootja Bootja married artist Mick Gill Tjakamarra, with whom she had a son, Matthew Gill Tjupurrula (also an artist).

Susie Bootja Bootja's painting career followed the establishment of Warlayirti Artists, an Indigenous art centre at Balgo. One of the area's strongest artists, her work was characterised by an expressive style, and has been acquired by major Australian galleries, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales and National Gallery of Victoria. She died in 2003.


Susie Bootja Bootja was born circa 1935[notes 1] near Kurtal, or Helena Spring, south-west of Balgo, Western Australia;[2] the country is called Kaningarra in her own language, a name that appears as the title of one of her art works.[5] The ambiguity around the year of birth is in part because Indigenous Australians operate using a different conception of time, often estimating dates through comparisons with the occurrence of other events.[6] While sources vary as to Susie's skin name (some indicating Napangarti, others Napaltjarri), the similar birth dates, locations, and work history indicate that all are referring to the one individual.

'Napaljarri' (in Warlpiri) or 'Napaltjarri' (in Western Desert dialects) is a skin name, one of sixteen used to denote the subsections or subgroups in the kinship system of central Australian Indigenous people. These names define kinship relationships that influence preferred marriage partners and may be associated with particular totems. Although they may be used as terms of address, they are not surnames in the sense used by Europeans.[7][8] Thus 'Susie Bootja Bootja' is the element of the artist's name that is specifically hers.

Susie Bootja Bootja was of the Kukatja language group. She married artist Mick Gill Tjakamarra at Old Balgo in the 1950s, and they had a son, Matthew Gill Tjupurrula (born 1960), who also became an artist.[2] Susie Bootja Bootja died on 16 January 2003.[4]