Language Group: Alyawarre
Country: Hermannsburg, Ntaria
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Subjects: Bush tucker, Bush Medicine, Untitled, Awelye (Women's Ceremony), Country, Akatyerre (Desert Raisin), Desert Flowers Seven Sisters Dreaming
Nikita started painting for Mbantua Gallery in June 2017. Her mother is Joycie Morton and her father is Eric Inkamala. They are both artists. Nikita was born in Alice Springs in 2000 and grew up at Hermannsburg and Ampilatwatja. She is married to a son of Thelma Dixon, who has been painting for Mbantua since 1998. Nikita's work reflects the unique style of her large extended family. She lives in the Utopia region with her family.
Nikita paints women collecting Merne Yerrampe, known as Honey Ants, and Merne Awele Awele (Bush Tomatoes). Merne means food in Nikita's language and Yerrampe is the honey ant and Awele Awele are the bush tomatoes. Yerrampe are a sweet bush food for the aboriginal people. When hunting for Yerrampe care is taken not to kill or hurt them (or not get bitten either!) so that they can go on and collect more honey. The sac on the back of the Yerrampe holds pure natural honey.
Nikita illustrates the Yerrampe and women are represented by the 'U' motifs collecting them. They often carry with them their digging sticks which are typical instruments used for collecting many bush foods. Concentric circles represent the sites where the Yerrampe are being collected. Footprints that the women leave in the sand can sometimes be seen in Nikita's paintings. The background colours in the artwork reflect the rich sand hill country of Central Australia.
The clonal sub-shrub of the awele awele (wild tomato) grows most commonly on foothills and lower hill slopes throughout Central Australia. It produces beautiful purple flowers and velvety grey or bluish-green leaves. Drought resistant it can produce tomatoes when the weather is dry, but the tomatoes are produced in abundance during good moisture conditions. The tomatoes are a traditional staple food of the Central desert aboriginals. Once collected, the Aboriginal people eat the tomatoes raw or put them in the hot earth by the fire, sprinkle water on top and cook them.