Language Group: Anmatyerre
Country: Alhalkere, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and linen, Wood Sculpture
Subjects: Atnwelarre (Pencil Yam), Kame (Pencil Yam Seed), Country, Awelye (Women's Ceremony), Atham-areny Story, Awenth (Dogwood Tree Seed), Bush and Camp Scenes, Emu Dreaming
Josie was involved in the 1980's batik movement that established the women artists of Utopia. In 2005 she began painting for Mbantua Gallery and paints Dreamtime stories passed down to her from her father's country, Alhalkere, as well as colourful depictions of life at Utopia.
Josie's mother, renowned artist Polly Ngale, sisters and aunties are all Utopia artists and the years spent watching them provided inspiration to her. Like most members of her community, Josie speaks little English but is very enthusiastic about painting and sees it as a means of language and expression of her stories and culture.
Having lived in a number of communities within Utopia over the years, including Homestead, Boundary Bore and Apungalingum, Josie is no stranger to travel and has proudly travelled to Perth, Melbourne and Darwin for her artwork. Josie continues to live out in Utopia with her husband, Dinny Kunoth Kemarre, their children and their extended family.
Atnwelarre, the Pencil Yam, and Kame, the seed of this plant, are the subject of Josie's painting. The Dreamtime stories for both of these belong to Josie's country Alhalkere in the Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs. The Atnwelarre is a trailing herb or creeper, sometimes covering large areas, with bright green leaves, yellow flowers and long skinny yams (swollen roots). These are an important food source which can be eaten raw or cooked in hot sand and ashes.
In the Dreamtime there are two parts to the Kame story, one that belongs to Alhalkere and Atnangkere countries, and the other that belongs to Arnumarra country. Two different seeds were born that created two different species of Pencil Yam; one called Atnwelarre which belongs to Josie's country, and the other called Arlatyeye which belongs to Arnumarra country. The Atnwelarre and Kame stories are very important Dreamtime stories for Josie's country and ceremonies by her people are performed to ensure its productivity as a food source and life form of the ancestors.
Dot work represents the Kame.