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Selina Numina Napananka / Medicine Leaves (6B)

88cm x 60cm Acrylic on Linen

SKU: A13217

$550.00

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SKU: A13217 Category: Brand: . Artist:

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Selina was born in 1978 and is the daughter of Barbara Price Mbtitjana who is an elder painter and cultural elder from Stirling Station. Selina has five sisters, Jacinta, Lanita, Louise, Caroline and Sharon Numina, who are also well respected artists from Utopia. Selina, along with her sisters and brothers were sent to boarding school in Darwin as no secondary schooling was available in Tennant Creek, 500kms north of Alice Springs. The family now live in Darwin and often travel back to Ti Tree and Stirling Station in the north Utopia region near Tennant Creek.

Selina’s family come from a long line of desert artists of the contemporary Aboriginal art including world renowned aunties: Gloria and Kathleen Petyerre, who are well established artists. Many women from the Petyerre, Mambitji and Numina family name hold custody of the story and knowledge keepers of stories such as Bush Medicine Leaves, Bush Tucker, Seeded, Soakage, Womens’ Ceremony etc – in common with other skin groups across the vast arid landscape and desert areas of central Australia.

Subjects of importance in the theme-series paintings are various bush tucker stories. Plant foods include wild berries, plums, onion, yam, seeds etc. Many animals can be depicted as food source or as totems such as Thorny Devil LIzard and Dingo Tracks. Womens’ Ceremony, Awelye Body Art Ceremony are mostly painted by senior ladies but younger women need to know it from a young age. Some themes such as Bush Tucker can be open and universal others can be secret and passed down through cultural ceremonies.

Knowing, carrying and reinforcing these stories gives respect for Country and ancestors and shows responsibility and care of holding such stories to keep the stories and traditional practices alive. The knowledge must be retold repeatedly and handed on. The Numina Sisters have all been taught to paint by their earlier elder painter grandmothers, mother-aunties, and cousin-sisters connected across the Central Desert region. Their mother’s and grandmother’s Country is in the bush and remote Stirling Station. Their father is from Utopia community side.

The Western desert has an extreme dry climate. The summer is hot with temperatures often exceeding forty degrees Celsius. In winter the nights are freezing cold from June to August. During the droughts, vegetation is sparse and only spinifex and mulga shrubs subsist though they appear withered and lifeless.

After the infrequent rain the desert landscape is transformed. The dried out spinifex flower resembles a field of wheat and the mulga shrub bears green dense foliage and masses of bright yellow flowers. Growing amongst these plants is an abundance of wildflowers that turns the deep red coloured desert floor into a utopian garden.

The Bush Medicine Plant is an Australian native that grows wild in Central Australia. Women collect leaves from these plants, which 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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