Born: c. 1930's
Language Group: Anmatyerre
Country: Ahalpere, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen, Batik on Silk
Subjects: Anwekety (Conkerbery), Awelye (Women's Ceremony and Body Paint Design)
Ally began painting during the CAAMA - A Summer Project of 1988/89 when acrylic painting was introduced to her home region of Utopia. Though far from prolific, Ally steadily painted up until her death in 2007. Her simplistic paintings reflected the Anwekety, small black conkerberries that grow after good rain. They are found abundantly in certain areas of Utopia, particularly where she called home.
Ally lived in a family community where many members were artists; primarily painting with some sculpture. Some of these family members include Glady Kemarre, Angelina Pwerle and Polly and Kathleen Ngale whom all paint for Mbantua Gallery. With her art, Ally tried to teach the wider world about her paintings and the Anwekety that features in them.
Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
The Holmes á Court Collection, Perth
|1989||Utopia Women's Paintings, the First works on Canvas, A Summer Project, 1988-89, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney|
|1990||Utopia- A Picture Story, an exhibition of 88 works on Silk from the Holmes á Court Collection by Utopia Artists who toured Eire and Scotland|
|2000||Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, N.T, Australia|
The conkerberry (or conkleberry) known as Anwekety or bush plum to Ally, is a sweet black berry that is favoured by desert aboriginals. They only grow on the plant (Carissa lanceolata) for a few weeks of the year, however Ally's people collect plenty of them and store them dry, soaking them in water again before being consumed. The plant of the conkerberry is a tangled, spiny shrub that can grow up to 2m high. After rain fragrant white flowers bloom. This plant also bares medicinal properties. The orange inner bark from the roots can be soaked in water and the resultant solutions can be used as a medicinal wash. This is particularly favoured for skin and eye conditions. The thorns on the shrub can be used to cure warts.
Ally paints the conkerberry (dot work). In Anmatyerre the conkerberry is called Anwekety. This fruit looks very similar to a plum and is often referred to in English by Ally as a 'bush plum'. In the Dreamtime, winds blew from all directions, carrying the Anwekety seed over Ally's ancestors' land. The first Anwekety of the Dreamings then grew, bore fruit and dropped more seeds. Many winds blew the seeds all over the Dreaming lands.