Awelye – Women’s Ceremony
Artist: Colleen Wallace Nungarryi
Title: Awelye – Women’s Ceremony
Size: 40 x 40cm
Med: Acrylic on Canvas
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In this painting Awelye, Colleen paints the body paint design that is painted onto the breasts when women perform ceremony for the stories surrounding her country. Though she has chosen (as an artist) to use a variety of colours on a black background for this particular painting, traditionally a combination of red and white ochre would be used when performing ceremony.
The awelye in this story is associated with arlatyey – the pencil yam and its kame – seed. There are two different species but the same seed if found in both. The story line for arlatyey starts in Alhalkere country in the Utopia region and runs south to Annemurra country. The plant in Ahalkere country produces a long thin tuber while the plant in Annemurra country produces a short thick tuber. Growing prolifically any time of the year after rain these juicy, starchy storage organs are an important source of food.
The pencil yam – arlatyey often features in Aboriginal mythology.