Ntang Artety (Mulga Seed) Dreaming MB051888-Kevin Bird Mpetyane

Acrylic on Canvas
90 x 45cm
Year Painted


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Ntang Artety (Mulga Seed) Dreaming MB051888-Kevin Bird Mpetyane

Kevin paints the story of the seed of the Mulga Tree (Acacia aneura) which he calls Ntang Artety. Ntang means seed in Kevin's language, and Artety is the word for Mulga Tree. This is a very important story for Kevin that belongs to his country, Ilkawerne. This story, its songs, dances and symbols have been passed down to Kevin from his father. The mulga seeds are an important plant food throughout Central Australia, usually available to collect for several months of the year. The seeds are collected from the tree or ground if fallen, cleaned, lightly roasted and then ground into a paste before being consumed. The seeds taste similar to peanut butter and are highly nutritious. The seeds are different colours during ripening which are represented in Kevin's painting. This story cannot be confused with the Tyankern story which is also commonly referred to as a mulga seed. It is in fact a sweet edible berry that belongs to a type of mistletoe (Lysiana spp.) found growing on the mulga tree. In the Dreamtime these two plants are one that produced to types of seeds: Ntang and Tyankern. This painting is the Ntang.

Concentric circles represent the Dreaming place and parallel lines stemming from the concentric circles represent the travelling lines of the Ilkawerne people associated with this story; one line goes to the Dreaming place, the next returns and so forth. 'U' shapes along the lines represent Kevin and the men collecting the ntang and telling the Ilkawerne stories. Yellow dots symbolise the ntang when they are nearly ready to be collected, red dots when they are ready to be collected and grey dots when they are dry and have fallen to the ground. White dots represent the flower of the mulga tree.
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Located at
Mbantua Alice Gallery (MGA)