Edward (Eddie) Blitner was born in southern Arnhemland in 1961. His bush name is Taiita and he is from the Ngukkurr Community in Naiyarlindji country on the Roper River, approximately 270 km south-east of Katherine in the Northern Territory.
Later, he attended school at Concordia College in Adelaide until he was sixteen. When he returned to the north as a young man, he worked as a stockman and general hand on Victoria River Downs. He was at the Gurrinji walkout when he was a youth, and has mixed with all of the language groups who populate the northern country from Roper River to Kununurra. This part of the country remained home for the next thirty years. Eddie now lives in Darwin but has also lived for periods of time in Katherine, Victoria River, Kununurra and Broome.
Eddie started painting when he was seven, learning from his grandfather who painted with natural ochres on bark. He says of this time, “My grandfather would be painting on bark and we kids would sit around him and watch him grind the ochres and mix the colours. After a while he would tell us the story for that particular painting and also teach us the songs and dance for that story. When he was in a very good mood, he let us paint the sides of the bark painting. That was my start.”
He primarily paints stories associated with his family and ancestors' daily life in the Roper River area. He incorporates important family totems, bush tucker, hunting and corroboree themes into his works. As he paints, he often recounts Dreaming stories and relevant songs and dancing cycles that were passed down to him from his Grandfather. He is also an accomplished woodcarver. Eddie uses the styles and subject matter of his traditional country in southern Arnhemland. He maintains the palette of natural ochre colours he usually adopts for the traditional patterning of cross-hatching referred to as rarrk.
Eddie's work is highly sought after by collectors and galleries worldwide.