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23-184 – Danita Wise

$665.00

Danita Wise

61 x 91 cm: acrylic on canvas
Year: 2023
23-184

Bush tucker and wild flower

“I make a painting and it’s a wild bush flower, desert flower! And bush tucker. I do painting for bush tucker and wild flower.”

– Danita Wise

Depicted in this work are traditional types of bush tucker, their floral habitats, and their related hunting and gathering methods. 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. 

Typically, animals hunted for their kuwiyi (meat) include kirti-kirti (euro kangaroo) and marlu (plains kangaroo), parnajarrpa (sand goanna), kipara (Australian bustard, bush turkey) and karlaya (emu). Lunki (witchetty grub) and wuukurta (honey ants) are dug from tree and bush trunks, or from underground nests. Popular mayi (plant food) includes minyarra (bush onion), collected from small, grass like plants; root vegetables dug from underground such as kulyu and mata (types of bush potato); and seeds such as kalaru (samphire, salt bush), yuwinyji, and marnkalpa (spinifex species). Jawirli (quondong), wamurla (bush tomatoes), jinyjiwirrily (wild gooseberry), ngaputa (melon), and karlkula (bush banana) are some of the most popular bush fruits. These are often collected in the wantajarra (cool season) and tuulpara (spring) months, along with juri (sweet) botanical gums and wama (nectar), obtained from various plant species. 

Traditional tools used for hunting and gathering bush tucker were carved from wanari (mulga), mulunturu (desert oak), yurungkura (river red gum) and mijarrpa (bloodwoods), and included kurlata (spears), jurna (hitting stick), karli (boomerangs), wana (digging-sticks), piti (timber bowls used for carrying food and water), and jiwa (grinding stones for grinding seeds into flour). While carved objects retain enormous social and ceremonial importance in Martu life, they are no longer used for hunting and gathering.

Over half a million square kilometres of mangroves, off shore islands, deep gorges, mountain ranges, desert sand dunes and river pools ensure the Pilbara’s flora is as diverse as the landscape. Plants and flowers in the Pilbara have evolved unique adaptations to survive in an arid climate that receives most of its rainfall during summer by way of tropical cyclones. Watercourses are lined with river red gums, coolibah, silver cadjeput and desert bloodwood trees. Gorges contain permanent water supplies to support moisture loving plants like the common rock fig and rock kurrajong. From July to September wildflowers of all colours, sizes and shapes, like the unmistakeable Sturt’s desert pea, fluffy mulla mulla, the tall majestic Ashburton pea or any number of the 65 species of Acacia (wattle) can be seen throughout the region.

SKU 82214074a Category Tag

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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.