Language Group: Anmatyerre
Country: Ilkawerne, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen
Subjects: Tyankern (Mulga Berries), Ntang Artety (Mulga Seed), Ahakeye (Bush Plum), Aremela Rockhole, Other Men's stories belonging to his country
Gary is a younger son of Paddy Bird and Eileen Bird, grandson of Ada Bird Petyarre.
Gary's country and stories are passed down from his ancestors. His stories are associated to Mulga Bore country where he lives and where Lindsay Bird Mpetyane is the chief custodian. His style of painting reflects the work of his brothers and father.
Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs
This painting represents Utnea at Aremela Rockhole. Aremela Rockhole is a sacred site for Gary and his people. In this painting the large concentric circles represent Aremela Rockhole and the smaller circles represent smaller rock holes nearby at Aremela. Parallel lines stemming from the concentric circles represent travelling lines of the Ilkawerne people to and from Aremela Rockhole. Short parallel lines in this painting represent tyape (grubs) and small curved lines represent dry sticks nearby. Arntep are common bronzewings (pigeons) and their tracks are represented in this painting by the small arrow shapes. Arntep meat can be eaten to stop you from getting sick. U shapes equal men. Other symbols are sacred men's symbols.
According to Dreamtime, Utnea, as represented in this painting by the S shapes, is a carpet snake who is king of all the carpet snakes, and is the 'boss man' for Ilkawerne country. The dreamtime story for Utnea is a very important story for Gary which belongs to his country, Ilkawerne, and tells of his ancestors travelling as carpet snakes, coming across many waterholes and campsites. They are hunting and singing their sacred songs, before stopping and changing back to people.