Women Collecting Arrwerneng (Wild Passionfruit) and Merne Atwakeye (Wild Orange) MB056707-Marie Ryder

Acrylic on Canvas
45 x 45cm
Year Painted


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Women Collecting Arrwerneng (Wild Passionfruit) and Merne Atwakeye (Wild Orange) MB056707-Marie Ryder

Marie paints women collecting merne arrwerneng, known as the wild passionfruit (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia). Merne means food in Marie's language and Arrwerneng is the wild passionfruit. The spiny shrub of the arrwerneng produces white, delicate flowers that only last for a day or two, and the fruit that ripen in the summer and last until the winter frosts. When the green fruit ripens, it splits open revealing bright yellow pulp and black seeds. Ants and bird are attracted to this fruit when it is ripe which is why it is commonly picked green by the aboriginal people and allowed to ripen off the plant.

Marie also paints women collecting Merne Atwakeye, known as the wild orange (Capparis mitchellii). Atwakeye is the wild orange. The small compact tree of the wild orange plant is about 3½ m high with dark green leathery leaves. Its creamy white flowers open during the night and wither before the end of the next day. The fruit hang down on long stalks, turning a yellow green tint when ripe. The oranges usually ripen from October through January depending on seasonal conditions.

In this painting Marie has illustrated the leaves and fruit of the arrwerneng plant when it is ready to be collected and the leaves and fruit of the wild orange plant when it is ripe and ready to eat raw. 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 fruits are being collected. 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 (MGA)