- exhibition excerpt
At 60cm x 60cm, this little painting has all the hallmarks of a classic Ada - Ada's elongated breast contours with bold linear prints mirroring that on an arc-linear chest, and a clearly defined naval area. Imperfect yet deliberate markings.
Traditional ochre colours continue to connect this piece with authenticity to the culture and ceremony that was once performed by Ada.
Imbuing the piece with sophistication, the white brightens favourably and allows this piece to befit any space.
The arc-linear work and breast illustration in Ada’s painting represents awelye (women’s ceremony and body paint designs) for the Arnkerrthe Dreamtime story. This story belongs to the people from Atnangkere and Alhalkere country in the Utopia region, northeast of Alice Springs.
The women smear their bodies with animal fat then trace these patterns onto their breasts, arms and thighs. Powders ground from red and yellow ochre (clays), charcoal and ash are used as body paint and applied with a flat stick with soft padding. This stick is called a ‘typale’. The women sing as each woman takes her turn to be ‘painted-up’.
Their songs relate to the ancestral travels of the Mountain Devil Lizard as it makes the long journey north to Waramugu country, carrying the ochre for body paint in the small sac on the back of its neck.
The Mountain Devil Lizard has the ability to camouflage itself by changing colours. The traditional colours used for ceremony are ochre red, yellow and white.
The navel area is depicted in this piece by the two bands of short parallel lines reaching across the centre of the painting.