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Sharon Numina Napanangka / My Country (12A)
97cm x 90cm Acrylic on LinenView more from artist
97cm x 90cm 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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Community: Utopia, Central Desert
Outstation: Stirling Station
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 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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