Therese Ryder was born in 1946 at Todd River Station in Alice Springs and grew up at Santa Teresa Mission, 80kms South East of Alice Springs. As a young girl Therese lived and attended school at the Santa Teresa Mission (Ltyentye Apurte) where she lived in a dormitory and was taught by the nuns to paint water colour landscapes. Santa Teresa is home to Keringke Arts and the artists are well known for their fine detail and bright colours. The painting style from this area is very distinctive - generally comprised of symmetrical dot work designs in vivid colours. Among the best known in the region are Kathleen Wallace; Gabriella Wallace and Therese Ryder herself.
Therese moved to Alice Springs in 1978 and has been painting ever since. Whilst these days, she tends to mainly paint in watercolour, she also paints the more traditional dot paintings interpreting bush foods.
Therese had nine children; most of whom follow their mother’s footsteps and continue her tradition and love of painting. Most note-worthy is Marie Ryder Pengarte who paints bush tucker in the more traditional dot style.
Therese taught Eastern Arrernte language at the Catholic High School in Alice Springs for many years, passing on her knowledge to the younger generation. Therese skills and knowledge have enabled her to assist to compile many books relating to her country. Therese assisted the Institute of Aboriginal Development (IAD) to compile the Central and Eastern Arrernte dictionary, and her painting features on the cover. In 1999 Therese assisted on compiling a book titled “Keringke” detailing the artists from her country. Therese continues to work as an educator and translator and in 2017 she released a book entitled “Ayeye thipe-akerte: Arrernte stories about birds”.
Her paintings capture the landscape of her country, South East of Alice Springs. The contrasting colours bring this painting to life and this is how she expresses her deep connection to her country.
Therese's art is in collections all over the world and she is a highly sought after by galleries and art collectors.