Aranda Art, Vic
Cooee Art, NSW
The artist is portraying the country of her gradmother Long Rose Nungala – the wife of one Pound Jimmy and the mother of Clifford Possum. It is in the Mount Allan region (Yuelumu), 300km northwest of Alice Springs and is the ancestral homeland of the Anmatyerre people.
The painting represents a complex Dreamtime topographic landscape that has links with the regions’ ancient past as well as its present contemporary condition.
She has outlined the general geography, which shows the sand hills, fresh water soakages, dried salty, swamps and erosional rockholes that are carved into the bedrock and supply drinking water in times of drought. The vegetation includes Spinifex grass, wild bush wheat, honey flowers for sugar bag (native bee honey) as well as the bush tucker which grows underground such as sweet yams. The Dreamtime lore is documented; the regeneration of plant life after rain, the life cycle of the yam plant and the regions of this country where they can be found. All of this information is traditionally transmitted by song, dance and ceremony but this painting summarizes the process. The secrecy aspects of learning are inferred by the groups of U shapes that are clustered together. They indicate that all of the grandmothers (Nungala’s) are painting themselves with yellow ochre (described as the main one, the other being red and white ochre which is sometimes mixed together to produce pink) and teaching all of their granddaughters (Nungarrayi’s) the procedures that they must follow to ensure the continuation of the floral resources of this county. Their camp fires are also indicated. All of this information is considered necessary for the survival of the Anmatyerre people that traditionally inhabited this region.
The only meat resource that is indicated is the Bush Turkey which is illustrated by their tracks, it is considered easy tucker to catch and falls into the domain of learning that is taught by the old ladies. In general, this paintinShare