The diagonal line of dotted arcs in this new painting by Elizabeth Kngwarreye is symbolic of the pencil yam; small tubers growing beneath the surface of a native trailing herb. These are still harvested by Elizabeth and her people today.
Either side of this, and with the small swift strokes of an applicator bottle, Elizabeth captures the untamed movement of the leaves and yellow flowers as the herb emerges from the ground after significant rain and sweeps across the desert floor, bringing the bush to life.
Elizabeth has used green and yellow in this piece in particular to convey authenticity in the colours.
In the Dreamtime, two different seeds were born that created two different species of pencil yam. Kame, the tiny seed of the pencil yam called Atnwelarr, is a major Dreaming story for the people of Alhalkere.
The Atnwelarr is a trailing herb or creeper, sometimes covering large areas, with bright green leaves, yellow flowers and long skinny yams (swollen roots). These are an important food source which can be eaten raw or cooked in hot sand and ashes.
Above: Elizabeth Kngwarreye illustrates pencil yam symbols in the sand.
Watch Elizabeth Kngwarreye paint this small Pencil Yam Flower painting.
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