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marcia turner pula

"Women's Ceremony" by Marcia Turner Pula


Size: 130 x 95cm

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas

Marcie Turner Pula (also known as Marcia) was born in 1973 and comes from Utopia Community in Central Australia. Utopia is a well-known Aboriginal community that has produced some of the most talented contemporary Aboriginal artists including the famous and highly collectible Emily Kame Kngwarreye.

Marcie is the daughter of Margaret Turner Petyarre (who sadly passed away in 2009) and it was through her mother that Marcie learned her skills and Dreaming stories. Marcie has also been under the guidance of well-known and collectible artists Kathleen and Gloria Petyarre. Marcie has been considered one of the up-and-coming talents of the Utopian women artists in Central Australia however she has not spent a great deal of time painting in recent years.

Women’s Ceremony Dreaming
Aboriginal culture locates ‘Dreamtime’ as the beginning of all knowledge, from which came the laws of existence. All activities and ways of life- ritual, ceremony, and duty relate to this ‘Dreamtime’. Knowledge concerning this beginning of time is sacred and passed down from one generation to the next via ceremony, stories, dance, and imagery. Everything in the natural world is a symbolic footprint of the metaphysical beings whose actions created the world. After full tribal initiation, all men and some women own a ‘dreaming’ and are thus charged with their custodial responsibilities to preserve and pass on this sacred knowledge.

Women's Dreamings tell the story of the journeys of female ancestors. Many of the stories are allied to knowledge relating to desert survival; bush tucker and wildlife food, the importance of medicines, and female knowledge. Similar to men, women have important religious status and possess their own land tracts and ground designs. During the sacred women's Ceremonies, participants paint their breasts, shoulders and upper arms, and face with patterned designs relating to a particular dream. Adorning their bodies is a process; women smear their bodies with animal fat and then using a variety of powders ground from charcoal, red and yellow ochre, imagery is traced onto the body. Different symbols are painted onto the body according to the ceremony subject, time of year, and the persons ranking within the social hierarchy. Songs are sung re-iterating ancient journey cycles that pass knowledge but also draw the ancient ancestors closer to the community. Occasionally, women will dance and re-enact those journeys, dancing and moving their feet through the sand leaving a symbolic pathway.

The Dreaming religion is Aboriginal history, spirit-belief, ancestral knowledge, legend, and culture transformed into a language that has no written words or records beyond memory itself.