In this painting Marie Ryder depicts women collecting merne awele awele, known as the wild tomato or gooseberry (Solanum ellipticum)and angkwerrpme;mistletoe. Merne means food in Marie’s language.
The clonal sub-shrub of the awele awele grows most commonly on foothills and lower hill slopes throughout Central Australia. It produces beautiful purple flowers and velvety grey or bluish-green leaves. Drought resistant it can produce tomatoes when the weather is dry, but the tomatoes are produced in abundance during good moisture conditions. The tomatoes are a traditional staple food of the Central desert aboriginals. Once collected, the Aboriginal people eat the tomatoes raw or put them in the hot earth by the fire, sprinkle water on top and cook them.
Angkwerrpme is the name for Mistletoe in Marie’s language. There are many different types of angkwerrpme in Central Australia, where all but one or two produce edible berries. In this painting Marie paints one that has sweet edible berries that the women collect for the community. Marie has also illustrated the women, represented by the footprints, collecting the angkwerrpme. Marie likes to use traditional ochre colours in the background design to reflect the rich sand hill country of Central Australia.