Language Group: Eastern Arrernte
Country: Santa Teresa area, South East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas, Linen and Paper, Decorative Craft
Subjects: Variety of Bush foods, Awelye (Women's Ceremony and Body Paint Designs), Owls
Marie Ryder grew up at Santa Teresa (Ltyentye Apurte) community, 80kms southeast of Alice Springs with her eight younger brothers and sisters. Her mother is Therese Ryder, a highly respected illustrative and landscape artist. Marie is married to Kevin Bird Mpetyane (grandson of Ada Bird Petyarre) and lives happily with their children in Kevin's country in the Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs. Marie also has another two children from her first marriage.
Marie first put paint to canvas when she was in her early 20's. As a child, she watched her mother painting, observing her techniques and from this developed her own style. Her paintings are a celebration of the bush foods from Central Australia. They are highly representational using rich colours to depict her country.
Her work is held in many private collections both interstate and overseas. Her work has also been represented in many group exhibitions.
Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs
|1999||Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs|
|2000||Bush Foods: Therese Ryder & Marie Ryder, Mbantua Gallery|
|2002||Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: Art and Soul Gallery, Nashville TN; 'The Cove Gallery' Portland OR; Urban Wine Works, Portland OR; Mary's Woods, Portland OR|
|2003||Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: New City Merchants, Knoxville TN; Art and Soul Gallery, Nashville TN; 'The Cove Gallery', Portland OR; Contemporary Aboriginal Art Event, Umpqua Bank, Portland OR; Mary's Woods, Portland OR; Art From The Dreamtime, Portland Art Museum, Portland OR|
|2004||Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: Portland, Nashville, Knoxville, Hartford, Greenwich, New York and Philadelphia|
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.