Tim's Bush Trip - 10th March 2023

Tim's Bush Trip - 10th March 2023

Posted by Tim Jennings on 2023 Apr 05th

My first Bush Trip for well over 2 months!! Having said that though, most of our bush artists drop into town every few weeks with paintings, do their shopping and head back out to their country. We still have strong levels of stock plus lots of artists both in the bush and in town continue to approach us wanting to paint for Mbantua Gallery.

This trip I got away at about 9am, which is about an hour or more later than normal. After refuelling at the local truckstop in Alice Springs, I headed out with lots of canvas and paints that I had loaded into the car on the Sunday prior. The temperature was estimated be to 39°Celsius (or 102.2°Farenheit) during most of the day! So, a swelteringly hot day ahead.

About 2½ hours later, after driving the Stuart Highway, then the Plenty Highway, then the Sandover Highway and crossing over the Sandover River (which is generally a dry river bed) I arrived at Camel Camp. The total distance so far - about 220 kms.

Crossing the Sandover River

I was met by a few of our regular artists, Elizabeth Mpetyane, Angelina Ngala, Motorbike Paddy and a few non artists. All of the artists had a few completed canvases ready for me. Motorbike's work is mainly about his traditional designs these days and frequently very 'smudgy' but full of meaning for him. I personally love them and it helps to appreciate them even more when he's actually quietly singing the mythological stories while he stands around the car. The local health records have Motorbike Paddy born in 1932, although 'bush born' of course so we will never know the actual date. The family tell me that he loves to paint and the activity is good for his welfare. Stay tuned for more on Motorbike Paddy in the coming months.

1) Motorbike Paddy holding his 'Rain Dreaming' 2) Angelina holding her 'Atham-areny Dreaming'

From Camel Camp on to Atnwengerrp Outstation. For short we call it 'Noongi' as it's phonetic pronunciation is similar to ‘A-noong-ga-pa'. It is the home of Teresa Purla, the Hunter sisters Molly, Emily and Geyla Pwerle, and many of our other artists. It was also the country of Barbara Weir who only recently and very sadly passed away. Other painters in the district who have affiliation with this country also often meet me here. Atnwengerrp once came under the administration of nearby Ampilatwatja but are now an independent body and have been for quite some time.

Mary Lewis with a nice 'Bush Orange Flower' painting.

With the temperature soaring I headed off next to Rocket Range Outstation. Partially down this soft red dirt road there were a group of people sitting under a shady tree. They said that the road further down was really washed out from all the rain we've had this summer so they decided to meet me at the tree!

Michelle and Lily Lion, along with Katie Kemarre were the artists in this group. All had some good quality paintings and I photographed them in the part shade on the road. Katie, carrying a few aches and pains as we do when getting on in years, wanted to sit down on the road and get photographed. I thought that the ground might be too hot but she said that it was okay!

Katie with a painting of her country. She said that the lake is called Lake Andaringinya and in the hills in the background the Outstation of Andaringinya is nestled. 'Good hunting for bush tucker' she said. (I used to travel through those hills way back in the mid and late 1980's…)

I left them after about 30 or 40 minutes and shortly after I was again waved down. This time on the side of the road, at the intersection to Kurrajong Outstation, by artists Violet and Bronwyn Payne, along with their mother Doreen (a daughter of the late Lena Pwerle). Their work was really good too!!

1) Bronwyn holding her Ngkwerlp (Wild Tobacco) Story 2) Doreen holding her Yerrampe (Honey Ant) Dreaming

Off again and then 3 or 4 kilometres down the road at Arlparra Store, Dinny Kunoth and his family flagged me down. Dinny had a 'horse racing' and a 'football' painting, both completed. Dinny and his family live at Apungalindum Outstation which I rarely visit. Dinny's work is well sought after and he likes to be independent. He either comes to town for canvas or stops me out in Utopia when he hasn't got much on and wants some work. He has a lovely, close-knit family who laugh a lot. I love it!

Dinny holding up his 'Horse Racing' and 'Bush Football' paintings

From there I drove the some 250kms back to Alice Springs, arriving at about 6.30pm. Lots more work to be done by myself and our great team but we'll start that on Monday!!!

Take care.