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Sharon Numina

"Bush Plum Dreaming" by Sharon Numina


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  • Commission Work Available
  • Size 100cm X 94 cm 
  • Acrylic on canvas

    About Sharon

    Sharon Numina was born in 1981 and attended school at Kormilda College Darwin. Sharon is one of six sisters and two brothers. Her mother Barbara Price Mbtitjana, an elder painter and cultural elder from Stirling Station near Tennant Creek taught, all her daughters to paint.  Sharon is one of the younger painters of the fabulous Numina Sister desert artists. Sharon lives in Darwin with her older sisters.

    Sharon's father, now passed, is from Utopia. The stories of Bush Tucker, Goanna, Dingo Tracks, and other themes that Sharon paints are her mother's and father's Country and Dreaming totems and cultural knowledge stories.

    Sharon and her sisters, and mother, come from a long line of desert painters of the contemporary Aboriginal art and dot-dot central desert movement from well-renowned painter aunties: Gloria and Kathleen Petyerre, who are well-established artists in Alice Springs.

    The Story of the Bush Plum Dreaming

    Sharon's paintings are borne from traditional knowledge and her confident approach to painting is evident in the way she assembles the images of the bush seeds, piling dots over each other to create a dense surface using a rich palette of color. Gracie’s subject matter is drawn from acute observation and memory. There is an intimate knowledge of country, blended with personal history and ancestral journey.

    The Bush Plum Dreaming Story is a big story that spreads right across the western and central deserts from Lajamanu and Warlpiri country to the Utopia homelands.

    The Bush Plum Dreaming or Creation Story from the Utopia region goes like this: In the Dreamtime, winds blew from all directions carrying the bush plum seed to the artists’ ancestral lands. The first bush plum of the Dreamings grew and bore fruit and dropped more seeds. Many winds blew the seeds all over the Dreaming lands.

    To ensure the continued fruiting of this plant each season, the Aboriginal people pay homage to the spirit of the bush plum by painting about it and recreating it in their ceremonies through song and dance. The patterns in the paintings celebrate the Bush Plum work on many levels: they represent the fruit of the plant, its leaves, and flowers and also the body paint designs that are associated with it during the ceremony.

    The bush plum is a popular variety of bush tucker that is only found at certain times of the year. It is found throughout most of the Utopia region and as far west as Lajamanu. Sadly, it has declined in abundance due to the grazing of introduced animals, particularly cattle and rabbits. The bush plum fruits in the summer after rain and is an important food source, even though not all the plum is edible. The plums can be collected when ripe and immediately eaten, or they can be dried and eaten later.

    When young, the fruit is green in appearance but as it matures, it becomes a purple-black color and is similar in looks to an olive. The plant can grow up to 3 meters high and has blue-green leaves and produces a creamy white flower, making it an attractive-looking plant.

    The bush plum also plays an important part in Warlpiri Dreaming and ritual practices involved in Yilpinji, Love Magic. When a girl falls in love she goes to her female relatives and is instructed on how to attract her man as a lover. She weaves a belt out of her hair while singing Yilpinji songs imbuing the belt with magic. When the man approaches she entices him with her charms until he comes under the influence of her allure. She reveals the belt as his ardor grows and persuades him to place the belt around her waist. As he does, he falls under her spell and they go off together as a couple. Together they eat bush plums and hunt for food.

    Other important Warlpiri, on learning of their tryst, follows them and confront them as a couple and also eat the bush plums. In this way, the group recognizes their relationship and acknowledges that it is an appropriate match. They are now recognized by all as a couple.

    Just like the artists from which Sharon learned, she possesses an innate sense of color. This style of work has often been compared to that of the 19th-century Impressionists; reminiscent of the color fields used and their immediate emotive quality.