Barbara Reid was born in 1964 in the Tjukurla region of the Gibson Desert in Western Australia. Barbara is a traditional Aboriginal woman who speaks three languages, her language group is Ngaanyatjarra. Barbara is the daughter of famous Australian National Gallery artist, Ningura Napurrulla. Ningura has taught Barbara well and she has become an artist in her own right.
Barbara began painting in 1987. She depicts her traditional country with a distinctive personal style; many of her painting feature the puli or rock formations and Tali of the country around Tjukurla. The artworks tell the story of women’s ceremonial rituals related to the formation of the environment around the homelands. The area is dominated by expansive sand hills and rock holes containing water where bush foods can be found. The Minyma stories or women’s stories involve the role of the women as healers and providers in Ngaanyatjarra society.
A trademark of Barbara’s works is her use of bright colours and thick layered paint, which is typical of the Kintore region. Like many Aboriginal paintings there are often a number of interrelated symbolic meanings, for Barbara that includes the natural environment, sacred sites, women’s rituals and ceremonies and also the meaning of women in Ngaanyatjarra society.
Barbara’s artwork has been involved in a number of touring exhibitions in all Australian Regional Galleries and in 2000 Barbara’s artwork was selected as a Finalist in the 17th annual National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (NATSIAA), this is one of the most prestigious art awards in Australia.
Having relocated to Alice Springs for health reasons, Barbara continues to visit her community of Kintore, where a majority of her family reside; she is a traditional woman and attends all cultural activities and events. She continues to paint in Alice Springs and her artworks can be found in local and interstate galleries around Australia.