Angelina paints the story of the Atham-areny. The site for this story belongs to the hilly country near Willowra on Angelina’s traditional country north east of Alice Springs.
Atham-areny comes from the Anmatyerre words atham (meaning no fire) and areny (meaning belonging to).
“Akely-amperl arrkay-renem atham-areny-rnem. Ahernel anewaneyel akely-akely”
The atham-areny are very little spirits of the country. They are colourless and live in the ground [or places] where the fire does not belong.
Angelina tells the story that these creatures can be known to come out of their homes and steal and hide the babies in the community. It is important that they stay by the fire. If the atham-areny does touch you, you will feel sick. If this happens a witch doctor must come to sing and dance the sickness out.
In this painting, Angelina has illustrated some of the aboriginal women and children covered in awelye (body paint designs), prepared to sing and dance with the witch doctor to help remove any sickness related to the atham-areny. The circle depicts a sacred site related to this story where the women (this time represented by red U shape symbols) are gathered. Linear patterns in the background again represent body paint designs.
Artist: Angelina Ngale (Pwerle)
Skin name: Ngale
Language group: Anmatyerre
Area: Utopia Region, Central Australia