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bernadine johnson

"Bush Medicine Leaves" by Bernadine Johnson


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Size: 142 x 90cm

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas

Bernadine Kemarre is a rising star in the world of contemporary aboriginal art. She was born in 1974 in the Ltyentye Apurte Community (Santa Teresa), approx. 80km east of Alice Springs, Northern Territory and had a traditional upbringing before attending school in Alice Springs.

Bernadine comes from a family of famous artists including Abie Loy and Josie Petrick Kemarre that have emerged from the Utopia area in the NT. Her sister-in-law is Anna Price Petyarre, one of the most sort after Central Desert artists. She learned from a young age the art of painting her dreamings, ceremonies, and important bush foods onto canvas.

Berandine currently lives with her husband Steven and their children in Napperby Station, NT. Her artworks are intricate and colorful and she is an artist sure to succeed.

Artwork Story

Bernadine has painted the Desert Yam (or Bush Plum) story from her family’s country. The yam grows underground with its viny shrub growing above ground up to one meter high. It is normally found on Spinifex sand plains and produces large flowers after the summer rain. The yam 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. It is also renowned for its medicinal properties. This medicine is used to heal cuts, wounds, bites, and rashes and as an insect repellent. In this painting, Bernadine depicts the leaves and flowers of the yam paying homage to the spirit of this special plant in the hope that it will regenerate.