Bush Seeds

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The painting depicts Dreaming of collecting seeds and water and the country where Helen Rubuntja comes from, located in the Utopia region, 250 km northeast of Alice Springs. Bush plum, bush melon and grass seeds have been the staple food of the Alyawarre people for centuries. For this reason, they are important to women of this tribe. The seeds were ground into flour from which bread called damper was baked. In summer, after the rain, women accompanied by children collect fruit and perform rituals through which they strengthen their connection with the country. They then paint their bodies in Amweketa patterns, sing and dance.

Helen Rubuntja, one of the senior traditional custodians of this Dreaming, presents it using the technique of delicate dotting and colour shadings. The country is in bird's eye view, showing changes in vegetation depending on the seasons. Fine, multi-coloured dots indicate plants in various stages of growth and flowing water.

The artist's style is minimalist and lyrical. Her works are included in Australian and international collections.