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Eileen Bird Nungarai / Yam Dreaming (9B)

200cm x 98cm Acrylic on Canvas

SKU: 17896


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Eileen Bird Nungarai was born c. 1955 in the Bush Park Region of the Northern Territory. She is an Eastern Arrernte woman and grew up at Harts Range where many of her family continue to live. Eileen’s late husband was artist Paddy Bird, the eldest son of renowned artist Ada Bird Petyarre. They have eleven children (the eldest is artist Maggie Bird Mpetyane) and many grandchildren.

Her paintings depict women gathering bush foods of the region and women’s ceremony associated with her country. Eileen has been painting since the mid 1990’s.

Selected Collections
• Art gallery of New South Wales
• Umpqua Bank Portland Oregon USA
• Art and Soul Gallery Nashville Tennessee USA
• New City Merchants Knoxville Tennessee USA
• Homes a Court Collection
• Art Bank Sydney
• Kerry Stokes collection
• Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
• Kelton Foundation Santa Monica USA
• Araluen Arts Centre

Selected Group Exhibitions

• Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, N.T, Australia

• Art and Soul Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee USA
• ‘The Cove Gallery’ Portland, Oregon, USA
• Urban Wine Works, Portland, Oregon USA
• Mary’s Woods, Portland, Oregon USA
• New City Merchants, Knoxville, Tennessee USA
• Art and Soul Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee USA
• ‘The Cove Gallery’ Portland, Oregon USA
• Contemporary Aboriginal Art Event, Umpqua Bank, Portland, Oregon USA
• Mary’s Woods, Portland, Oregon USA
• Art From The Dreamtime, Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon USA

Aug-Sep 2004
• Mbantua Gallery USA exhibition; Portland, Nashville, Knoxville and Hartford

Eileen paints the Desert Yam (or Pencil Yam / Bush Potato) story. This yam grows underground with its viny shrub growing above ground up to one metre high. It is normally found on Spinifex sand plains and produces large colourful flowers after summer rain. The yam is a tuber, or swollen root, of the shrub and tastes much like the common sweet potato. It can be eaten raw or cooked and is still a staple food for the desert aborigines where it can be harvested at any time of the year. It is also renowned for its medicinal properties. This medicine is used to heal cuts, wounds, bites, rashes and as an insect repellent. In this painting, Eileen depicts the seed of the yam (dot work) and its flower (brush work) paying homage to the spirit of this special plant in the hope that it will regenerate.

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