Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs NT
Cooee Gallery, Sydney Australia
The conkerberry (or conkleberry) known as anwekety or bush plum to Kathleen, is a sweet black berry that is favoured by desert aboriginals. They only grow on the plant (Carissa lanceolata) for a few weeks of the year, however Kathleen’s people collect plenty of them and store them dry, soaking them in water again before being consumed. The plant of the conkerberry is a tangled, spiny shrub that can grow up to 2m high. After rain fragrant white flowers bloom. This plant also bares medicinal properties. The orange inner bark from the roots can be soaked in water and the resultant solutions can be used as a medicinal wash. This is particularly favoured for skin and eye conditions. The thorns on the shrub can be used to cure warts.
Kathleen paints the conkerberry (dot work). In Anmatyerre the conkerberry is called anwekety. This fruit looks very similar to a plum and is often referred to in English by Kathleen as ‘bush plum’. In Dreamtime, winds blew from all directions, carrying the anwekety seed over Kathleen’s ancestors’ land. The first anwekety of the Dreamings then grew, bore fruit and dropped more seeds. Many winds blew the seeds all over the dreaming lands.Share