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Aboriginal People Collecting Bush Tucker

January 15, 2016 2 min read

If you are looking for something unique look no farther than this painting by Utopia artist Katie Kemarre. 

Traditional aboriginal art primitive bush tucker scene

Olden day aboriginal people are hunting and gathering for bush food. They are pictured carrying traditional implements including boomerangs, coolamons (carved wooden bowls) and digging sticks. Traditionally these were made of hard wood such as mallee or mulga; the sticks heavy enough to club smaller animals and doubled as a prod for cooking on the fire. 

In the coolamons, edible grubs can be seen along with other bush fruits and edible seeds (ntang ngkweyang) from the Kurrajong tree that have been collected. The people are surrounded by Kurrajong trees which are denoted by the brown seed pods found on their branches.

There is an ancient Dreamtime story belonging to the Kurrajong seed which lies in the heart of Alyawarr land in Katie’s country, Antarrengeny, north east of Alice Springs. It was an important and nutritious food source. Not a habitual practice now, the Aboriginal people would collect these seeds, burn them to remove small hairs, and grind them into a paste for making damper (bread).

Katie Kemarre and her people still collect many traditional bush foods today with ready made tools such as poles and empty flour drums.

Every so often, Katie and other members of her community paint camp scenes like this. In fact there was a period in the 1990's where they were quite prevalent. They have been described as naive depictions or primitive portrayals of traditional bush life. Katie's style of painting is generally fluid; that is not set on any one particular style or subject. She often features the Kurrajong seed which is an important Dreamtime story for the people of her country but there is no strict style that she emulates. In recent months we see her move back to more traditional symbols and images and we are happy to highlight this unique artwork.

Be sure to keep an eye on Katie Kemarre's collection for more unique and exciting paintings as she explores her style.

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