In this painting, Carol paints about the boab tree and its significance to Aboriginal culture. Carol pays respect to the Aboriginal people that have walked the land for over 40,000 years. The yellow circles, represent the moon in different seasons. The oval shapes in the painting represent coolamons, these are what the Aboriginal people use to carry the boab nuts, dried fruit and bush berries.
The boab tree is an iconic Kimberley tree, with stark leafless branches during the ‘dry’ and festooned with brilliant green during the ‘wet’, is unique to this magnificent part of Australia. Boab trees attract attention because of their striking and unusual shapes. They are very individual and have a spiritual presence about them. It is no surprise that the Boab is regarded as a special tree.
Regardless of how, or even when the Boab reached the Kimberley Region, it is held in high regard by the Aborigines of the Kimberley Region. They know the tree as larrkardiy and regard it has having a strong spiritual presence.
It features in rock art and also dreamtime stories, where it was regarded as being too proud and arrogant and was punished by being re-planted upside-down with its roots in the air. Interestingly, the African Baobab is also known as the “upside-down tree”. This nick-name stems from an Arabic legend which claims that a devil uprooted a tree and planted it upside down.
The Aboriginal people of the Kimberley have utilised the Boab in many ways:
The Boab is a valuable source of medicinal ingredients. The high vitamin C and calcium content of young leaves and especially the seed-pod pith, makes it a valued commodity. The bark is also used to treat fever, as it contains properties similar to quinine.