Language Group: Alywarre
Country: Arawerre (Soapy Bore), Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Subjects: Bush Tucker, Irreyakwerre (Bush Onion), Bush Medicine, Country, Bush Flowers
Joycie was born in Alice Springs in 1976 and started painting when she was nineteen. Her mother is Betty Mills Pwerle. Cindy Morton is her sister and Nikita Inkamala is her daughter. Joycie and Nikita began painting for Mbantua Gallery in 2017. Joycie's husband is Eric Inkamala, who is also an artist, and they have five daughters and two sons. Joycie has many dreamings that passed down from her grandmother, big Betty Kemarre who was involved in the Utopia Women's Batik Group. Joycie said she learnt everything from her grandmother, hunting, bush tucker, dreamings, bush medicine and painting. Joycie is living at Soapy Bore in Utopia and Stirling outstaion near Ti Tree with her family.
Joycie paints Bush Tucker and often features Akatyerre (desert raisin), Anaty (desert yam), Bush Bananas, Bush Beans and Witchetty Grubs.
The akatyerre, also known as the desert raisin, wild sultana or bush tomato (Solanum centrale), is probably the most important of all Central Australian plant foods due to its abundance and widespread availability most of the year. Once collected, the Aboriginal people eat the akatyerre raw or grind them into a paste before being consumed. The paste can also be rolled into balls and dried to store during long periods of drought. This practice is not as habitual now but ceremonies relating to its story are. Yellow ones are ripe and ready to eat, and green ones are still young.
The Anaty (desert yam) grows underground with its viny shrub growing above ground up to 1 metre high. It is normally found on spinifex sand plains and produces large pink flowers after summer rain. The anaty is a tuber, or swollen root, of the shrub and tastes much like the common sweet potato. It can be eaten raw or cooked and is still a staple food for the desert aborigines where it can be harvested at any time of the year. Some can be found as big as a person's head.
Witchetty grubs are large, tasty grubs that live in the numerous shallow roots of the witchetty bush (Acacia kempeana). They are a most important food source. To collect the grubs the aboriginal people dig at the base of the witchetty bush until they strike a root. Any swollen roots are levered up as it is a good sign there is a witchetty grub inside. Care is taken when breaking open the root so that the grub is not injured. If it is, the grub is usually eaten immediately. If not, the grubs are normally lightly roasted in coals before being consumed.
Background dotting represents Joycie's country.