Language Group: Alyawarre
Country: Atnwengerrp, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen
Subjects: Akarley (Wild Orange), Anemangkerr (Bush Melon), Atnwengerrp Country, Snake, Awelye (Women's Ceremony and Body Paint Designs)
Mary Lewis is sister to artists Gypsy Jones Pwerle and May Lewis Pwerle. Mary has painted for many years, painting fine designs typical of her family's style. Her paintings usually depict elements of the Akarley (Wild Orange) or Anemangkerr (Bush Melon) Dreaming stories that belong to her country, Atnwengerrp.
Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs
Mary paints the story of the northern wild orange (Capparis umbonata) flowers, known as Akarley in Mary's language. The small slender tree of this wild orange plant grows about 3½ m high with dark bark and weeping foliage. The wild orange hang down on long stalks, turning yellow or a red tint when ripe; most commonly during the month of February. Young fruit are often ripened in hot sand. The Akarley is generally favoured as a better fruit than others of this species by the Aboriginal people.
Mary illustrates designs that represent elements of the wild orange plants/flowers. Fine dot work portrays her country and linear designs represent Awelye (Women's Ceremonial Body Paint Designs). There is an ancient Dreamtime story of the Akarley, belonging to her country Atnwengerrp, which Mary and other women of her country share with younger generations of women and girls. Akarley is an important fruit of her land and ceremonies are performed to ensure the health and well-being of this plant, both spiritually and physically.