Women Collecting Arrwerneng (Wild Passionfruit) SP8268-Therese Ryder

Acrylic on Canvas
30 x 30cm
Year Painted


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Women Collecting Arrwerneng (Wild Passionfruit) SP8268-Therese Ryder

Therese paints women collecting merne arrwerneng, known as the wild passionfruit (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia). Merne means food in Therese'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.

Therese illustrates the leaves and fruit of the arrwerneng plant when it is ready to be collected. Women, represented by the 'U' motifs, are shown collecting this fruit. They carry with them their digging sticks and coolamons (carved wooden bowls) which are typical instruments used for collecting many bush foods. The concentric circles represent the sites where the wild passionfruit are being collected. Therese often paints the footprints that the women leave in the sand. Therese likes to use traditional ochre colours in the background design to reflect the rich sand hill country of Central Australia.

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Located at
Mbantua Alice Gallery (MGA)