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Naomi Pula Price

"Women's Ceremony" by Naomi Price Pula


Acrylic on Canvas

Size: 94 x 90 cm

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Commission work available

Naomi Price is an Anmetyerre woman from Boundary Bore, around 300km northeast of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. She is the daughter of world-renowned artist, Anna Price Petyarre adopting a similar style to her mother when telling these important Dreamings. Anna is the niece of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, one of the highest-selling aboriginal artists.

About the Painting

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 tells 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 upper arms, and face with patterned designs relating to a particular dreaming. 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 person's 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.