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Louise Numina

"Bush Medicine Leaves" by Louise Numina Napananka


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Size: 200 x 100cm

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas

Louise Numina is an Anmatyerre artist and one of six sisters and three brothers who lived at Ti Tree, 190km North of Alice Springs in Central Australia. Her mother is artist Barbara Mbitjana (Other names: Pananka or Price). She attended primary school at Stirling Station, a cattle station near Tennant Creek where she began painting at a young age, taking guidance from her world-famous aunties Gloria and Kathleen Petyarre. She later studied at Yirara College in Alice Springs. After her studies, she returned to Stirling Station to work with the Community Development Program. In 2000 the Numina family moved to Darwin where they still live today. 

Louise and her five sisters, also well-respected artists from Utopia, share many totems including the Bush Medicine Plant, Thorny Devil Lizard, Awelye (Ceremonial Body Paint), and Women’s Dreaming’s,  Louise first began painting the Women's bush tucker dreaming’s when she was a young girl, and now predominantly paints the Bush Medicine Leaves, Bush Yam & Awelye (Ceremonial Body Paint). 

About the artwork

In this painting, Louise paints the Bush Medicine Plant. The Bush Medicine Plant is an Australian native that grows wild in Central Australia. Women go to different places around Utopia to collect leaves from these plants. Back at the camp, the leaves are boiled to extract the resin. Kangaroo fat is mixed into the resin, creating a paste that can be stored for a long time in bush conditions. This medicine is used to heal cuts, wounds, bites, and rashes, and acts as an insect repellent. The leaves have been used as a traditional form of Indigenous healing for centuries and continue to be used in the present day by remote Indigenous communities all over Australia. 

By painting "Bush Medicine" Louise is paying homage to the spirit of the medicine plant in the hope that it will regenerate, enabling others to continue to benefit from its healing properties.