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Sandy Walker Japanardi / Bush Tucker (1A)

150cm x 100cm Acrylic on Canvas

SKU: A13705

$2,350.00

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Sandy Walker Japanardi was born in Alice Springs in 1956, he is of Loritja tribe group and his skin name is Japanardi. His mother was born at Haasts Bluff in the Western Desert of the Tanami Desert. His father was born at Oodnadatta in South Australia. His parents passed away when he was 6 or 7 years old. He was one of the stolen generation children, taken to Croker Island (Minjalang) in Arnhem Land. In 1965 the mission was closed, and Sandy moved to live in Darwin.

In 1967 he was fostered out in Hobart (Tasmania) with adopted parents. In 1968 Sandy was back in Darwin and then down to Victoria with his new adopted family. Sandy completed his schooling in Darwin in 1970. After Cyclone Tracy, he worked in various job in South Australia. After which he came back in 1980 to his place of birth in Alice Spring to find his real identity.

Sandy spent a lot of time with the Elders of his immediate family to find out about himself. He learnt Aboriginal art watching his family members (Uncles and extended family) in Alice Spring, Papunya, and the western desert area. Sandy has the permission to paint Kangaroo Dreaming, Emu Dreaming, Honey Ants Dreaming, Bush Tucker, Goanna Dreaming.

Sandy paints on canvas and on didgeridoos. He is also employed by Larrakia Nation in the Outreach Services’ Watch House division. He facilitates the Arts in the Grass program on behalf of Larrakia Nation, an art workshop held at East Point (Darwin) ever Wednesday for itinerant and homeless Indigenous people.

In this painting Sandy has depicted many bush tuckers including bush plums and berries, witchety grubs, and honey ants. Men are also shown with their spears and boomerangs and the women with their digging sticks and coolamons. White tracks indicate kangaroo and emu. Broken lines are wind breaks around their camps.

The movement of people searching for food was dictated by the seasons. As some foods became scarce and others more abundant, people moved to exploit them. The size of territories and ranges varied, from a few square kilometres on the lush northern and eastern coast to hundreds of square kilometres in the arid centre of Australia. The sex roles of food collectors are still well defined. While men hunt large land and sea mammals and catch fish, women gather vegetables, shellfish and eggs and hunt small animals. The children usually accompany the women, who may provide up to 80 per cent of the bulk of a group’s food. Food is closely interwoven with the rich spiritual life of Aboriginal people. Aborigines believe that people, the land and animals and plants are part of a vast system created by the ancestral spirits of the Dreaming. Food was created by ancestral spirits; some are even ancestral spirits changed into another form, like the honey ants of Papunya in Central Australia. Certain people or groups of people have special links with certain foods which are their totems people may be forbidden to kill or eat their totems, except perhaps in special ceremonies. In fact, customs, rules and religious laws govern most of the gathering, cooking and eating of traditional foods.

The song and dance cycles mainly 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. The abstract figures they show are the same as those painted by men. For example, 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, stone, waterhole or fire. The exact imprint of human feet or animal paws depicts tracks of humans, emus, possums, kangaroos etc.

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