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Sharon Numina Napanangka / Emu Dreaming (10B)

100cm x 62cm Acrylic on Canvas

SKU: A12838


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SKU: A12838 Category:

Born: 1981
Community: Utopia, Central Desert
Outstation: Stirling Station
Language: Anmatyerre

Sharon Numina is an Anmatyerre artist and one of six sisters and three brothers. Her mother is artist Barbara Pananka Mbitjana. She went to primary school at Stirling Station, a cattle station near Tennant Creek where she began painting at a young age, taking guidance from her world renowned aunties Gloria and Kathleen Petyarre. She later moved to Darwin with her family and continued her studies at Charles Darwin University where she obtained a degree in fine arts.

Sharon lives in Darwin with her four sisters, Jacinta, Lanita, Louise and Caroline Numina, who are also well respected artists from Utopia.


In the Dreamtime, Ancestral Beings wandered through the desert, teaching law, language and ceremony to Aborigines living at isolated camps, and creating sacred sites at various places of significance which they encountered on their journeys. These ancestors were originally humans, but they could change their shape at will into birds, animals, reptiles or other natural phenomena such as rocks, hills or trees should danger threaten, or when they felt it was time for them to die. In this way their spirits would live on forever. At some time in their travels a group of these Ancestral Beings changed into emus, and the footprints they left in the sand were called the ’emu dreaming tracks’. Tracks are very important to all of the tribes living in the desert, indicating as they do the different routes travelled by their ancestors, and in sacred ceremonies novitiates must learn the correct details of their ancestors’ tracks.

All of their descendants paint their bodies with the emu design and mimic the events, which happened in the Dreamtime. Until recently this passing on of religious knowledge was only possible by song and dance cycles and by drawing tracks and other designs in the sand. Now this can also be depicted by painting on canvas. A group of these Ancestral Beings became emus, and the footprints they left in the sand were called the emu dreaming tracks. Their descendants paint their bodies with the emu design in sacred ceremonies, and teach the participants about the deeds of their ancestor.

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