Title: Bush Tucker
Artist: Julieanne Turner Nungurrayi
Size: 60 x 55 cm Unframed
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
COA and pictures of the artist holding and signing her work will be provided.
Bush tucker, also called bushfood, is any food native to Australia and used as sustenance by Indigenous Australians, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, but it can also describe any native fauna or flora used for culinary or medicinal purposes, regardless of the continent or culture. Animal native foods include kangaroo, emu, witchetty grubs and crocodile, and plant foods include fruits such as quandong, kutjera, spices such as lemon myrtle and vegetables such as warrigal greens and various native yams. Traditional Indigenous Australians’ use of bushfoods has been severely affected by the colonisation of Australia in 1788 and subsequent settlement by non-Indigenous peoples. The introduction of non-native foods, together with the loss of traditional lands, resulting in reduced access to native foods by Aboriginal people, and destruction of native habitat for agriculture, has accentuated the reduction in use.
Since the 1970s, there has been recognition of the nutritional and gourmet value of native foods by non-Indigenous Australians, and the bushfood industry has grown enormously. Kangaroo meat has been available in supermarkets since the 1980s, and a number of other foods is sold in restaurants or packaged as gourmet foods, which has led to expansion of commercial cultivation of native food crops.
Bush Tucker Dreamings ( Bush Berry Dreaming, Bush Tomato Dreaming, Bush Orange Dreaming ) references the search for bush tucker across the Central Desert landscape. Bush tucker is freely available for those who know where to look. Women are the principle gatherers, always on the lookout for food, edible roots, plants and seeds. Seasons denote the different varieties of food available and combined with the natural elements of sun and rain determine the abundance of Bush Tucker. One’s knowledge and ability to locate foods within the Desert is central to Aboriginal life, not only a means of survival but also a way of ensuring Aboriginal continuance- human fertility and reproduction. Collecting bush tucker (or bush foods) is still a common practice by the aboriginal people of Central Australia, although some of the more arduous forms (such as collecting seeds) is not as habitual now.
Bush tucker and bush foods can be depicted in numerous ways in aboriginal paintings. Sometimes in abstract forms, particularly if symbolic to a Dreamtime story in which the painting designs are also influenced by song, dance and interconnecting Dreamtime stories – the whole picture. And other times they are illustrated in their natural form, showing women or men collecting the various bush tucker, not as a Dreaming, but a depiction of daily ritual and teaching. Women Collecting Bush Tucker is a common subject that many Utopian and other Central Australian aboriginal artists paint. Often traditional symbols accompany these paintings that are used to depict the women and their accompanying tools. For centuries, aboriginal women and men have been depicted in cave and sand drawings by U shaped motifs. If one can imagine looking down from a bird’s eye perspective, a human body would look like this sitting down. Other artists come up with other illustrations to depict this, such as Marie Ryder who uses footprints in the sand to show the tracks that the women leave behind.