Born
c.1938-2019, Mangkayi 

Community
Billiluna, WA 

Skin
Napanangka

Language
KukatjaNgarti

Country
MangkayiNgantalarraNakarra Nakarra 

Kathleen Paddoon

In her formative years Kathleen walked around the country south of Yakka Yakka with her mother, father, brother and uncle. This included Mangkayi, her father’s country, and Ngantalarra and Nakarra Nakarra her mother’s country. They also travelled to Gordon Downs Station for rations of tea, sugar, flour, and tobacco.

When Kathleen was still a young girl, her family moved into Sturt Creek where she worked in the laundry. It was here that she met her husband, Paddy Paddoon, who was one of the men in the stock camp. She had two daughters at Sturt Creek before they moved on to the old Balgo mission. Kathleen gave birth to her third daughter at the old stables of the mission. The children were placed in the dormitories and Kathleen worked as a gardener and in the kitchen making bread. Kathleen and Paddy would attempt to travel back to Sturt Creek for weekends and holidays with the children as much as possible. This is where their last child, a son, was born.

Kathleen commenced painting in the late 1980s and in 2002 began to emerge as a significant artist gaining recognition for her predominately red and white paintings of Nakarra Nakarra (Seven Sisters’ Tjukurrpa) and the country associated with this story. She was the senior Law woman and custodian of the Nakarra Nakarra (Seven Sisters’ Dreaming) songs and ceremonies from the country south of Yakka Yakka. After a period of retiring from painting, Kathleen had a resurgence of enthusiasm for painting Nakarra Nakarra toward the end of her life that produced a body of work –in-spite of frail health– for her second and final solo exhibition in 2019.

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