Title: Bush Banana
Artist: Kathleen Martin Nungarrayi
Size: 45 x 45 cm. Unframed
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
COA and pictures of the artist holding and signing her work will be provided.
Known as Bush banana, Doubah, Native pear or Silky pear, the bush banana is a climbing woody vine found growing on other shrubs and trees, and often difficult to see among the trees own leaves.
The bush banana has creamy flowers, and thick narrow leaves that grow from a short stalk. The fruiting pod is pear-shaped, hence its other common names.
An important Aboriginal food, the sweet flower and young fruits are eaten raw, being the most favoured parts of the plant. The seeds are also lightly roasted for consumption When the seed matures, it consists mainly of bitter seeds and their plumes. The seeds are discarded and only the thick outer rind eaten. The young leaves are also eaten, whilst the older leaves are eaten after being steamed. Even the roots are eaten during times of food shortage. The only parts not eaten are the stems and fine roots.
The Bush Banana is a totemic plant that often features in Aboriginal mythology and can be found in many Aboriginal paintings.
The Eastern and Central Arrernte word for banana – wild banana fruit are alangkwe, lutye. The bush banana fruit translation is Merne alangkwe, the bush banana flower is Merne ulkantyerrknge and the bush banana leaves is Merne altyeye. The small fruits are called amwerterrpe. The plant is called altyeye. The root of the plant is called atnetye.
Bush bananas are one of the common bush foods that are featured as part of many paintings. They are also featured in a number of ‘Bush Banana Dreaming’ paintings by artist such as those by Christopher Japangardi Poulson / Yuparli Jukurrpa, Deidrie Napangardi Brown, Janet Forrester Ngala and Dorothy Abbott Napangardi.