Artist Profile

S. Bootja Bootja






Susie was a vibrant and colourful personality who is respected for her knowledge of the law and ceremony of Kurtal (fresh water spring in WA).  She tells stories about playing at the waterhole of Kangingarra (northern reaches of the Canning Stock Route) where she spent her youth.  Susie walked in from the desert as a teenager to Tjumundora, one of the early mission sites. 

When Susie moved to the old mission at Balgo, she worked in the kitchen making bread and helping serve food to the dormitory children.  There she met her first husband and had her first child, Lucy.  Her husband was killed on a mustering trip due to intertribal conflict and left her a widow.  Later she eloped with Mick Gill and had another six children and they remain a devoted couple today. 

Susie was one of the first women painters and is well known for her initial dual use of western and traditional representations of country (hills, trees, snakes) along with lively use of bright greens, pinks and sky blues.  Her innovative dotted colour fields began in 1996, and she continues to develop her style each year.  Her eldest son, Matthew Gill, with Sister Alice Dempsey from the St John’s Adult Education Centre, started up the Art Centre in Balgo in 1985. 

Since then Susie has produced a profusion of paintings that are filled with her exuberant personality and her joy for life.  She has travelled widely with her art, including Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin and Kununurra.  Susie also prides herself on her ability to sing both in English and Kukatja, as well as her ceremonial dancing.  She is also a keen and knowledgeable hunter.


2002       Balgo Hills, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne    
2002Balgo, Fremantle Arts Centre, Perth
2001Art Paris, Arts D’Australie, Paris