MB048953

Women Collecting Merne Utyerrke (Wild Figs) MB048953-Marie Ryder


Medium
Acrylic on Canvas
Size
45 x 45cm
Year Painted
2014

$440.00

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MB048953

Women Collecting Merne Utyerrke (Wild Figs) MB048953-Marie Ryder

Marie paints women collecting merne utyerrke, known as the wild or desert fig (Brachypoda). Merne means food in Marie's language and Utyerrke is the fig. The figs grow on a large shrub that is found throughout Central Australia. This shrub has smooth grey bark and large glossy green, leathery leaves that were often used in women's leaf games and love magic. When the figs mature they turn a yellow tint and then to red-brown. These are an important food source and can grow at any time of the year in frost free areas, depending on rainfall. The figs are also an extremely important drought food due to their storage abilities; they can be ground into a paste and rolled into balls for later use. In Aboriginal mythology this plant is also very important and in some places so sacred that anyone known to damage it may be killed.

Marie illustrates the fruit of the wild fig when it is ripe and ready to eat raw, and its leaves. Women, represented by the 'U' motifs, are shown collecting this fruit. They carry with them their digging sticks and coolamons (carved wooden bowls) which are typical instruments used for collecting many bush foods. Concentric circles represent the sites where the wild figs are being collected. The footprints that the women leave in the sand are a trademark depiction often featured in Marie's paintings. Marie likes to use traditional ochre colours in the background design to reflect the rich sand hill country of Central Australia.
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Located at
Mbantua Alice Gallery