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 working 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. Aboriginal women have their own ceremonies in which a series of song and dance cycles tell of the Ancestral Beings who walked the earth teaching women’s law and ceremony to isolated groups living throughout the desert. Each tribe has its own set of woman ancestors with different stories, designs and dances. However, most of the ceremonies have one theme in common to all groups, that of food gathering as the most important part of women’s lives.
The song and dance ceremonies mainly revolve around bush tucker, such as yam, banana, wild tomato, plum, onions, honey ants, witchetty grubs, nuts, and berries. In their paintings they depict the implements they use, including digging sticks, grinding stones, and coolamons for carrying. During the ceremonies, the women will paint their bodies and breasts in various designs which represent the ceremony being performed. These are mostly curved or straight lines, including circles and squares.
Louise now predominantly paints the Bush Medicine Leaves, Bush Yam & Awelye (Ceremonial Body Paint).
About the artwork
In this painting, Louise paints about bush foods, in particular the bush melons. Bush melons were often collected with Bush Yam Seeds. Women would typically hunt for these foods and bring them back to camp. The yam seeds would need to be soaked in water first before being crushed up to make damper. Women would head to the waterholes to do this, and then proceed with the cooking process. These bush foods were a big source of bush tucker for Louise’s family.
2018 Creative Native Perth – Healing and Reconciliation Exhibition
2016 Darwin – Raintree Art
2014 Creative Native Perth – Leaves Exhibition
2012 Paris – Numina Sisters Collective
2012 London – Numina Sisters Collective