Papunya Power

24 AM 7399/10
Mary Roberts Nakamarra Yalka Tjukurrpa (Bush Onion) 2010
Acrylic on canvas
1220 x 710mm

Mary had depicted designs associated with Yalka Tjukurrpa (Bush Onion Dreaming) at Murini, west of Haasts Bluff, near Winparrku, another sacred site. The Yalka is a traditional bush food represented by the circles with meandering lines emanating from them. The long parallel lines represent creek beds, with waterholes being the concentric circles, U shapes are the women and the short parallel lines are wana (digging sticks) and trees.

Bush onions may be eaten raw or cooked after removing the hard casing. They are small onion sedge with corms on shallow roots, the size of a small shallot. The women would perform a traditional ceremony in honour of the Bush Onion where they dance with ceremonial body designs. They also decorate their bodies with feathers and dance with ceremonial objects such as nulla nullas (ceremonial dancing baton).

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