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Lanita Numina Napanangka / My Country (A14366)
98cm x 95cm Acrylic on LinenView more from artist
98cm x 95cm Acrylic on Linen
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Ochre / Kimberley artworks are shipped on canvas or linen, already stretched, ready to hang unless stated otherwise.
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Born: c. 1965
Community: Utopia, Central Desert
Outstation: Stirling Station
Lanita is from Sterling Station which is Anmatyarre country near Alice Springs and Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory of Australia. She was born in the desert homelands and doesn’t know her birth date. She is now living in Darwin along with her sisters Caroline, Jacinta, Louise and Sharon, also talented artists.
The sisters were all taught to paint by their mother, Barabara Mbitjana and their famous aunties, Kathleen and Gloria Petyarre. A painting of Lanita’s was presented to Princess Mary and Prince Frederick of Denmark as a wedding gift by the Danish community of Darwin NT.
The style of artwork belongs to her desert people of Central Australia. Her art themes represent body markings for women’s ceremonies and stories of hunting and gathering in their traditional country.
In this painting the artist has depicted her country where they collect the bush medicine leaves and various plants with seeds or plums. Also shown are travel paths passing through the stony country as well as the desert areas including hills and dried up salt lake areas. The women are shown throughout the painting (depicted as the U shape).
Women’s paintings often depict a topographical view of their country with stories related to women’s business, or initiation ceremony for women. The women may be past initiates, or young women awaiting instruction from older women. Initiates are taught their roles as nurturers of the land and keepers of the law by which life’s rules and regulations are set. Other stories involve bush medicine, seed dreaming and fire dreaming. Ceremonies always involve song, dance and body decoration. The ownership, management and performance are dependent upon knowledge and status. Body-painting carries deep spiritual significance for the Aboriginal people.
They recognise the creative nature of this activity, which uses the human body itself as a living canvas for artistic expression. The use of particular designs and motifs denotes social position and the relationship of the individuals to their family group and to particular ancestors, totemic animals and tracts of land. In many situations’ individuals are completely transformed so they ‘become’ the spirit ancestor they are portraying in the dance. Patterns must conform to the ceremony being performed, and the women are not at liberty to adorn themselves with designs of free will. Elaborate ground constructions (sand paintings) are also made. Usually during ceremonies, their body-painting depicts similar linear designs as those illustrated in the ground paintings.
Some paintings often depict their country where the story takes place. During the ceremonies the women will collect the ochres and Spinifex ashes, which are mixed with Kangaroo or Emu fat to make the body paint. Body-painting ranges from simply smearing clay across the face, to intrinsic full body patterning. Many other women’s ceremonies, the song and dance cycles revolve around bush tucker, such as yam, banana, wild tomato, plum, onions, honey ants, witchetty grubs, nuts and berries. In their paintings they depict the implements they use, including digging sticks, grinding stones, and coolamons for carrying. A ‘U’ shape represents a person or groups of people sitting down with crossed legs. A larger ‘U’ indicates a windbreak. Concentric circles can represent a campsite, ceremonial site, waterhole or fire. The exact imprint of human feet or animal paws depicts tracks of humans or animals including emus, possums, kangaroos etc.
Sometimes stories involving bush medicine depict the country surrounding the areas where the dreaming takes place, or where the ceremony is performed. The Bush Medicine Plant is an Australian native that grows wild in Central Australia. Women collect leaves from these plants; the leaves are boiled to extract resin. Kangaroo fat is mixed into the resin, creating a paste that can be stored for a long time in bush conditions. This medicine is used to heal cuts, wounds, bites and rashes. It is also used to treat the flu, headache, backache, upset stomach, chest pains or as an insect repellent. As the leaves and petals dry out, they fall off and are blown around by the wind. This is represented in the painting and gives it the movement.
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