Burning Grass MB015861-Barbara Weir

Acrylic on Linen
120 x 90cm
Year Painted


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Burning Grass MB015861-Barbara Weir

In the Utopia region there are many varieties of grasses to be found. One such type is found in the spinifex sand plains and sand hills and produces a seed that is collected, crushed and made into a paste to produce bread for the people to eat. This grass can grow up to 15cm high and at maturity is reddish in colour. It is found throughout the year but is particularly abundant after a fall of rain. Due to the grazing of cattle and rabbits, the grass is now not as plentiful and the seeds are harder to collect.

In years gone the Aboriginal people collected these seeds in a most unusual way. Due to the seeds ripening at different stages, many would fall to the ground and be covered by sand and lost from view. The Aboriginal people would look for the nesting site of a particular ant. This ant collected the seeds and ate a certain portion and then discarded the rest. The discarded seeds would be found in a pile just outside the nest, where it was collected, cleaned and then ground into a thick paste. These seeds were an important source of food for the Aboriginal people and were collected by the women of the community. The practice of making this bread is not widely done today due to the introduction of ready made bread. In this particular painting Barbara has represented the grass when it is burning during bush fires. This grass is favoured by fire.
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Located at
Mbantua Alice Gallery (MGA)