These hypnotic black and white crosshatch designs by Abie Loy Kemarre are inspired by some of the oldest living handmade designs in the world. They represent body paint designs painted by the women of Ahalpere country in the Utopia region, some 250km from Alice Springs in Central Australia. This is Abie's traditional country.
For ceremony, women gather together usually at a sacred site. As some women sing, others will apply paint to each other with designs that are ceremonially significant. Oftentimes ceremonies are partaken by the women at the end of the year signifying the year's end, to demonstrate respect for their country and ask for plentiful supplies and protection of their community. They might also be to protect those who are travelling or older boys who are being initiated.
When Abie paints body paint designs in her artwork, she uses a combination of white, yellow ochre and red ochre. These colours are the traditional colours belonging to Ahalpere country and therefore are very significant for her. Whilst her well known Bush Medicine Leaf paintings blossom with colour and creativity, Abie feels a responsibility to maintain a cultural aesthetic in her Body Paint paintings. The piece above has thick, white crosshatched stripes framed in tiny red ochre and yellow ochre dots.
Pictured above: Abie Loy Kemarre sits on top of a large 18' x 12' Body Paint artwork.