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Anna Price Petyarre

"Bush Yam" By Anna Price Petyarre


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  • 87cm by 70cm 
  • Acrylic paint on Italian canvas

About Anna

Anna Petyarre (Pitjara) was born in 1965 and is the daughter of the late Glory Ngarla and niece to the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Her country is Alhalkere and her language is Anmatyerre. She was taught how to paint at Utopia by the famous Gloria Petyarre (Pitjara). She commenced full-time painting in the early 1980s when the medium of canvas and acrylic paints was introduced to the community of Utopia. Prior to painting, she produced batik.

Anna’s paintings have been exhibited extensively throughout Australia and she is a well-established Utopian artist.

About the artwork

This painting depicts the seed (looping pattern) of the Bush yam plant. This was once an important food source for the Anmatyerre people of Utopia in Central Australia. The Yam plant is a significant totem and certain people who own this Dreaming celebrated it in their Awelye ceremonies. The Aboriginal women would gather the seeds, then crush and grind them into a thick paste to make bread. In years past, grass seeds were collected in a most unusual way. Because seeds ripened at different stages, many would fall to the ground and be covered by sand, lost from view. Ingeniously the Aboriginal women would look for the nesting site of a particular ant species that they knew collected the seeds, eating a certain portion before discarding the rest in a pile outside the nest. Once the nest was found the women were able to collect the cast off seeds more easily.