Cynthia Burke is an artist belonging to the Ngaanyatjarra language and cultural group, whose creative and arts practice covers a broad range of disciplines.
Cynthia was first taught weaving skills by her mother, the renowned artist and Tjanpi staff member, Jean Burke (dec.). In 2013, Cynthia contributed weaving and media skills to Tjilkamarta Minyma Kutjarra Munu Wati Ngirntaka Warta (Two Porcupine Wives and Perentie Man Tree), which was exhibited as part of the String Theory exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney NSW. Other notable exhibitions Cynthia has been involved in include Fingers and Petals at Ellenbrook Gallery in Perth in 2013, Revealed at Fremantle Arts Centre in 2017, 2018 and 2019, and AIATSIS – Resurgence at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra ACT in 2019. Cynthia was also a finalist in the 2015 Outback Open Prize at the Broken Hill Art Gallery NSW.
For a number of years, Cynthia has painted for Warakurna Artists and has exhibited her paintings all over Australia and overseas. Likewise, she has nationally exhibited her punu (wood carvings) with Maruku Arts.
In 2016, Cynthia began working with Tjanpi Desert Weavers at the remote office in Warakurna. In this time, she has learnt to run the core operations of this office and visits over eight communities to support Tjanpi artists. She also co-produced the Tjanpi animation Ngayuku Papa with animator Jonathan Daw, telling the story of her dog, Tiny, as well as being a key collaborating artist in a project with FORM and Polyglot Theatre.
Cynthia was born in Alice Springs in 1973 and now spends her time between Warakurna and Irrunytju (Wingellina) communities in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands of Western Australia.
Cynthia also works for Ngaanyatjarra Media as a camera operator and radio announcer, presenting a weekly radio program of local music and news. CB, as the locals affectionately know her, plays a selection of country and gospel music ranging from the 1950s to 2000s. Cynthia’s gospel music program Praise is broadcast weekly in Ngaanyatjarra language from Warakurna Community.
In 2013, Cynthia won the radio broadcasting award at the 15th National Remote Indigenous Media Festival Awards for Best Emerging Radio Talent NG Media and in 2011 Cynthia won the Festival Troy Albert Award for Excellence in Cinematography for works presented on ICTV, the Indigenous Community Television station of Australia.
Cynthia is a level-headed and compassionate woman and an amazing advocate for Tjanpi Desert Weavers. Through Cynthia’s hard work and dedication, a new generation of weavers is emerging as highly skilled and creative business women.