Language Group: Alyawarre
Country: Arawerre , Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen
Subjects: Tharrkarr (Honey Grevillea), Awelye (Women's Ceremony), Women's Story, Alkwarrer (Bush Banana), Ilenyenp (Senna pleurocarpa)
Rhonda began painting for Mbantua Gallery in August 2004. She paints the Awelye designs which encompass everything to do with a traditional Woman's Ceremony body paint design and the women dancing and singing for their country.
Rhonda belongs to a strong family of artists. She grew up at Arawerre (Soapy Bore) which is in the Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs. Her mother, Gypsy Jones, has been an artist for a long time and Rhonda recalls watching her paint as a child. She has four sisters and two brothers (Shirley, Sandra, Jilly, Ronnie, Loretta and Anthony). Both Sandra and Jilly have painted for some time and encourage their younger sister to do so.
Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs
Rhonda paints the alkwarrer, known as the bush banana (Leichhardtia). The woody, winding vine of this plant can be found climbing up other native trees and shrubs in Central Australia. It produces creamy white flowers and long skinny green leaves. This plant grows very quickly after rain and about a month later the fruits ripen and are collected by the Aboriginal people. The bananas are an important and favoured food, eaten raw. If not collected before maturation, the banana eventually opens up and releases numerous seeds with white feathery plumes (similar to a dandelion) that are carried by the wind for long distances to begin regermination. The fruit at this stage can still be eaten, but are favoured cooked. The sweet flowers, leaves and roots can also be eaten and aboriginal people often use the plumes for decorative purposes in ceremonies as well.