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Bessie Purvis Petyarre / Yam Dreaming (18351)

200cm x 130cm Acrylic on Canvas

SKU: 18351


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Bessie was born in 1960 into the Alyawarr tribe. She lives in Utopia with her mother, renowned artist, Polly Ngale and her aunties, Kathleen Ngale and Angeline Pwerle Ngale.

Bessie began her artist career in batik, like many of the women in Utopia, before venturing into painting with acrylic paints on canvas.

Her mother Polly Ngale taught her how to paint and she shares the same dreaming – Bush Plum (Arnwekety).

The Bush Plum is an important source of food for Bush Women and they still gather the plums to this day, once the fruit ripens to maturity. Bessie’s paintings depict the Bush Plum and the effect of its growth patterns on her country. She illustrates the topography in many shades of colour including red, oranges and yellows and pinks and purples, reflecting the varying seasonal palette. She builds up layer upon layer of colour, creating a multi-dimensional effect to reveal the Bush Plum in all its glory.

This artwork depicts the Bush Plum (or Conkerberry). Bessie’s mother, Polly Ngale, is the senior custodian of the Bush Plum Dreaming. The varying composition in colour and pattern reveals the geography of the Bush plum, as well as the artist’s knowledge of significant places, such as clay-pans, soakages and spinifex mounds. Bush Plum is a food source for the Aboriginal people from Utopia in the Eastern desert of Central Australia. The women pay homage through body paint, songlines and dance cycles in their ceremonies.

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