Merne Arrwerneng (Wild Passionfruit) and Merne Alangkwe (Bush Banana) SP7473-Marie Ryder

Acrylic on Canvas
30 x 30cm
Year Painted


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Merne Arrwerneng (Wild Passionfruit) and Merne Alangkwe (Bush Banana) SP7473-Marie Ryder

Marie paints 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 merne alangkwe, known as the bush banana (Leichhardtia). The woody, winding vine of the bush banana plant can be found climbing up other native trees and shrubs in Central Australia. It produces creamy white flowers and long skinny green leaves. This plant grows very quickly after rain and about a month later the fruits ripen and are collected by the Aboriginal people. This is an important and favoured food, eaten raw. The sweet flowers, leaves and roots can also be eaten. If not collected before maturation, the banana eventually opens up and releases numerous seeds with white feathery plumes (similar to a dandelion) that are carried by the wind for long distances to begin regermination. The fruit at this stage can still be eaten, but are favoured cooked. Aboriginal people often use the plumes for decorative purposes in ceremonies.

Marie illustrates the vine, leaves and fruit of the bush banana plant when it is ripe and ready to eat raw.

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Located at
Mbantua Alice Gallery (MGA)