Language Group: Alyawarre
Country: Atnwengerrp, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen
Subjects: Awelye (Women's Ceremony), Akarley (Wild Orange)
On a bush trip out to Utopia in November 2004, canvas was given out to many regular artists at a sorry camp near Clinic camp, in the Utopia Region of Central Australia. Some of these artists included Mary Morton, Queenie Morton, Old Billy Morton and Katie Kemarre. Lizzie Pwerle was sitting under a humpy with family and ever so quietly asked for some canvas too. At this time, she was believed to be in her 60's and decided to give painting a go for the first time.
Mary Morton kindly helped Lizzie to answer some questions for a profile. We were told that a man by the name of Billy is her father, Queenie is her Aunty and Minnie Pwerle is her older sister. (They share the same father but have a different mother). Minnie (deceased) is a famed Aboriginal artist who began painting in her 80's. Both Lizzie and Minnie share the same Dreamtime stories, one of which is the Akarley (Wild Orange). Lizzie paints this and Awelye (womens ceremonial body paint design) that belongs to her country, Atnwengerrp.
The Akarley (Wild Orange) is a sweet fruit which often ripens in February. It is considered better than other wild oranges.
Mbantua Gallery Collection, Alice Springs, NT
Lizzie paints the story of the northern wild orange (Capparis umbonata), known as Akarley in Lizzie's language. The small slender tree of this wild orange plant grows about 3½ m high with dark bark and weeping foliage. The wild orange hang down on long stalks, turning yellow or a red tint when ripe; most commonly during the month of February. Young fruit are often ripened in hot sand. The Akarley is generally favoured as a better fruit than others of this species by the Aboriginal people.
Lizzie has illustrated the leaves of Akarley, and fine dot work portraying her country. There is an ancient Dreamtime story of the Akarley, belonging to her country Atnwengerrp, which Lizzie and other women of her country share with younger generations of women and girls. Akarley is an important fruit of her land and ceremonies are performed to ensure the health and well-being of this plant, both spiritually and physically.