Title: Bush Seeds Dreaming
Artist: Kathleen Petyarre
Size: 60 x 47 cm Unframed
Medium: Acrylic on canvas May 2010
COA and pictures of the artist holding and signing her work will be provided.
This painting depicts the seed of the Bush yam plant. This was once an important food source for the Anmatyerre people of Utopia in Central Australia. The Bush plant is a significant totem and certain people who own this Dreaming celebrated it in their Awelye ceremonies. The Aboriginal women would gather the seeds, then crush and grind them into a thick paste to make bread. Seeds varied depending on the time of year and the area in Australia in which the people lived. In Central Australia, native millet (Panicum decompositum; Panicum australianse) and Spinifex (Triodia) were commonly used. Wattleseed, from various species of Acacia, could also be used in the flour mix. Some seeds (such as the seed of acacia) need to be heated, hulled and then ground dry, while others (such as those of grasses) would be ground with water. In years past, grass seeds were collected in a most unusual way. Because seeds ripened at different stages, many would fall to the ground and be covered by sand, lost from view. Ingeniously the Aboriginal women would look for the nesting site of a particular ant species that they knew collected the seeds, eating a certain portion before discarding the rest in a pile outside the nest. Once the nest was found the women were able to collect the cast off seeds more easily.