Linda Syddick Napaltjarri was born near Lake McKay in the Gibson Desert, Western Australia, in 1937 and lived a traditional nomadic life until the late 40’s. Her mother, Wanala Nangala, was Pintupi, her father, Rintje Tjungurrayi, was Pirjantjatjara. Rintje was killed by a revenge spearing party when Linda was an infant so her step-father Shorty Langkata Tjungurrayi became her father. Her Pintupi name is Tjunkiya Wukula Napaltjarri but she uses the name of her second husband, Musty Syddick or Cedick.
Her family came out of the desert to Mt Leibig and later moved to Haasts Bluff. As a young woman she was taught Christianity by the Lutheran missionaries and this has impacted greatly on her work as she explores the interconnectedness of the Christian and Aboriginal Mythologies. Her step father was the on of the principal painters at the Papunya Tula Community and by assisting him she learnt his stories and techniques. Her paintings were initially in the traditional aerial view format but later incorporated figurative spirit beings in two dimensions. The first painting in the new style was ‘Crucifixion’ which was accepted for the Blake Prize Exhibition in 1989. In 1992, after viewing the movie ‘ET’, twenty times Linda painted the first in a series of paintings about ET.