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Roseanne Morton Pwerle

"Bush Medicine Leaves" by Roseanne Morton Pwerle


Size: 95 x 87 cm

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas

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Roseanne Morton Petyarre is a talented emerging artist in the world of contemporary aboriginal art. She was born in 1984 at Boundary Bore in Utopia, approx. 280km northeast of Alice Springs, Northern Territory and had a traditional upbringing, attending school at Utopia so she could stay close to family.

Roseanne’s mother is renowned artist Gracie Morton Pwerle. Gracie started to paint on batik in the 1980’s along with her mother Myrtle Petyarre and Aunties Gloria, Kathleen, Violet, Nancy and Ada Bird Petyarre (all international artists).

Roseanne learned from a young age the art of painting her dreamings, ceremonies and important bush foods onto canvas by watching her mother, aunties, and grandmothers.
Roseanne continues to live at Utopia with her husband, Papunya artist, James Morris, and their two children. A lovely lady with immense talent, this third-generation artist will no doubt have a long and successful career.

About the Painting

The Story Behind the Bush Leaves Paintings

 The medicine bush leaves depicted were original of the Kurrajong tree of which there are some 30 varieties dating back 50 million years. They scale from small shrubs to massive trees some 30 meters in height. In the larger trees, their trunks are used to store water, but it is the leaves that have medicinal purposes.

The women of Utopia, the remote region far to the west of Alice Springs where Caroline’s people originated, gather the bush leaves, boil them, and then mash them with animal fats (kangaroo, emu, or goanna) making a medicinal poultice or paste which can last for many months. The paste is used to heal a multitude of afflictions such as bites, wounds, skin infections, rashes, and skin cancer. The bush leaves are also boiled in hot water to make an infusion or healing tea. Other preparations were used as insect repellent or were thrown into the water to stun the fish.

The desirability of the artworks

 Admirers of the medicine bush leaf paintings often observe their mesmerizing attraction. People are captivated by how the paintings appear to be in motion in front of their eyes like the leaves on the canvas are literally blowing in the wind. Many buyers and collectors of medicine bush leaf artworks both in Australia, America, and Europe are also medical specialists who buy the works to hang in their consulting rooms to show an Aboriginal artwork with medical connotations.