Language Group: Anmatyerre
Country: Ilkawerne, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen
Subjects: Tyankern (Mulga Berries), Ntang Artety (Mulga Seed), Ahakeye (Bush Plum), Aremela Rockhole, Other Men's stories belonging to his country
Gary is a younger son of Paddy Bird and Eileen Bird, grandson of Ada Bird Petyarre.
Gary's country and stories are passed down from his ancestors. His stories are associated to Mulga Bore country where he lives and where Lindsay Bird Mpetyane is the chief custodian. His style of painting reflects the work of his brothers and father.
Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs
Gary paints the story of the seed of the Mulga Tree (Acacia aneura) which he calls Ntang Artety. Ntang means seed in Gary's language, and Artety is the word for Mulga Tree. This is a very important story for Gary that belongs to his country, Ilkawerne. This story, its songs, dances and symbols have been passed down to Gary 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 Gary'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.