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Rosemary Stirling / Yam Dreaming

30cm x 30cm Acrylic on Canvas



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SKU: DES398 Category:

Rosemary was born at Mt Stirling, c. 1958 in the Utopia Region, NT. In 1962 the Commonwealth Electoral Act was amended to give indigenous people the right to vote and Rosemary’s family took the surname “Stirling” (prior to this they were known by ‘bush names’ only) to allow them to enrol to vote.

Rosemary is married to artist, Richard Davis Petyarre whose cousins are the well known Petyarre sisters Kathleen, Gloria, Violet, Ada Bird, Myrtle and Nancy.

Rosemary and Richard live at Mt Stirling station where Richard spent many years as a stockman.



Bernadine has painted the Desert Yam (or Bush Plum) story from her family’s country. The 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 flowers after summer rain. The yam 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, Rosemary depicts the root system of the yam paying homage to the spirit of this special plant in the hope that it will regenerate.

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