46 x 46 cm: acrylic on canvas
Wamurla (bush tomatoes) at Warralong
Depicted in this work are wamurla (bush tomatoes), a spherical yellow bush fruit harvested from small, prickly shrubs. Wamurla are a favoured bush tucker amongst the Martu, popular for their sweet taste and for the relative ease with which they are foraged. The shrubs prolifically produce purple flowers before fruiting, and require fire burning followed by rains in the months preceding their growth. The fruit is high in vitamin C content, and has a taste likened to banana, passionfruit, and rockmelon. Wamurla can be eaten raw or dried, though only the thick outer rind is eaten; the black seeds and the thin inner part of the fruit are very bitter and inedible. Typically wamurla is collected in large quantities and then eaten or stored for later consumption.
During the pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) period, Martu would traverse very large distances annually in small family groups, moving seasonally from water source to water source, and hunting and gathering bush tucker as they went. Whilst desert life has moved away from mobile hunter-gatherer subsistence throughout the course of the twentieth century, bush tucker continues to be a significant component of the modern Martu diet. Hunting and gathering bush tucker remains equally valuable as an important cultural practice that is passed on intergenerationally. Though hunting and gathering implements have been modernised, methods of harvesting, tracking and the use of fire burning to drive animals from their retreats are still commonly practiced today.
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Martumili Artists acknowledges the Nyiyaparli and Martu people as the Traditional Owners of the land we live and work on. We also acknowledge the Traditional Owners throughout our country and our Elders; past, present and emerging.