Language Group: Anmatyerre
Country: Ilkawerne, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen, Silk Batik
Subjects: Alpar (Rat-tail Plant) Story, Ahakeye (Bush Plum), Ahakeye at Aremela Rockhole, Awelye (Women's Ceremony and Body Paint Designs), Waterhole
June Bird is the daughter of Ada Bird Petyarre and Tommy Bird Mpetyane (both dec). She lives with her husband and children in the Utopia Region in Central Australia.
June worked in batik during the 1980's and her work is part of the prestigious Robert Holmes á Court Collection.
Her style of painting reflects a strong influence from her mother's paintings.
Mbantua Gallery Collection, Alice Springs, NT
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT
The Holmes à Court Collection, Perth, WA
University of Queensland, Anthropology Museum, St Lucia, QLD
Anthropology Museum, St Lucia
The ahakeye, called bush plum in English by June, is also known as the native currant or citrus. It belongs to the canthium attenuatum shrub which grows about 3m high. This shrub produces small white flowers, deep green citrus-like leaves and the ahakeye which are black when ripe and very small. This fruit is favoured for its sweet taste and can be reconstituted in water if dry.
Women, represented by the 'U' motifs, are shown collecting Ahakeye. They carry with them their digging sticks and coolamons (carved wooden bowls) which are typical instruments used for collecting many bush foods. June also depicts the flowers of the bush plum (white dots) and background yellow dot work represents the fruit of the bush plum.