Stock Works 10

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78 AM 10531/14
Barbara Weir My Mother's Country 2007
Acrylic on Galicia linen
1220 x 1810mm

Barbara Weir was born in the region of Utopia formerly known as Bundy River Station. Her mother, the late artist Minnie Pwerle, came from a region called Atnwengerrp at Utopia and it is this country that Barbara depicts in her paintings. Barbara's main inspiration is the Atnwengerrp women's ceremonies. In the background of her paintings, Barbara often depicts the temporary campsites that her people made as they trekked across the country in search of food or the coolamans used by the women to collect wild fruits and berries. She sometimes shows the form of a woman's body adorned with ochre pigments collected from the land in preparation for the ceremonies. Small or large semi-circular shapes represent hills and valleys, and the lines of dry river beds and streams wind across the canvas as they do at Utopia. There may also be an outline of a person or unusual shapes that convey Dreaming spirits that dwell in the plant and animal life. Barbara overlays these drawings with a complex arrangement of dots that depict the diverse bush tucker found on the land. These include the bush yam, bush potato, bush berry, bush plum, bush banana and the ever-important grass seed that was once vital to the people's survival. This particular edible grass seed was collected by the people and then cleaned and ground into a paste to form a bread called bush damper. Barbara may also paint an area with a dark colour to represent the path of a fire that has swept across the land that will generate new growth.

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