Balgo Women Artists: Kathleen Paddoon

Kathleen Paddoon

Born: c. 1937
Location: Yagga Yagga area, Ngantalarra
Language: Ngarti
Skin: Napanangka
Kathleen Paddoon
Kathleen is a warm and delightful person who lives in the community of Kururrungku (Billiluna). In her youth Kathleen walked around the country of Mungai (father’s country), Nantalarra and Nakarra Nakarra (mother’s country) with her mother, brother, father and uncle. They would travel 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 Station 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 try to travel back to Sturt Creek for weekends and holidays with the children as much as possible. This is where their last child was born.

Since moving to Billiluna, Kathleen has started painting the country of her family south of Yagga Yagga. She depicts the landscape rich with bush food, which is collected by the women in coolamons. Kathleen is developing a style of soft muted colours applied with a thick brush daubed across the canvas, combined with fine dotting of the most exquisite precision. She paints with much enthusiasm inspired by the love for her country.

Principal themes in her work are: Nantalarra, her family’s country south of Yagga Yagga; rock holes, water; karnti (bush potato); tjirrilpatja (bush carrot); purra (bush tomato); small spirit people; cockatoo.

Group exhibitions

2001 Short on Size, Short St. Gallery, Broome
2001 The Peter Bailie Acquisitive Art Award Flinders Art Museum, Adelaide
2000 Desert Mob Show, Araluen Centre for Arts, Alice Springs
1999 Short on Size, Short Street Gallery, Broome
1994 Aboriginal Desert Women’s Law, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Ballarat
1994 Aboriginal Desert Women’s Law, A.R.T. Collins Place Gallery, Melbourne
1989 Sixth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin