Artist: Janie Petyarre Morgan
Title: Bush Orange
Size: 120 x 100cm
Med: Acrylic on Linen
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Janie Petyarre Morgan is an Alyawarra woman from Ingkwelaye (Kurrajong Bore), a traditional country area in the Utopia region of Central Australia. Janie, and her sister Katie, started her artistic career using non-traditional materials in the late seventies and early eighties with the batik program that was initially introduced by the first art and craft coordinators Jenny Green and later Julia Murray. Janie was involved in the ‘Utopia: A Picture Story’ exhibition, a collection of 88 silk batiks that is now part of the Holmes ‘a Court Collection, her work was featured in the publication (by A.BrodyHeytesbury, Perth 1990) of these works on silk by the Utopia artists which toured Eire and Scotland. From there, there was a natural progression from batik to applying paint to canvas.
Using a series of intricate dots of varying sizes in circular patterns Janie expresses the cultural importance of the fruits and flowers of her traditional dreaming story “ Bush Orange” or “Wild Orange”.
Bush Orange is known in Alyawarre as ‘akarley’. Once a staple food for the Aboriginal people of this area and found in abundance across the landscape, over grazing by cattle and other livestock have reduced its numbers considerably. The plant is more related to the caper plant than the orange tree. The fruit grows on a shrub about 3.5m high with weeping foliage and produces large white flowers recognisable by their long prominent ridges. The fragrant small fruit hangs on long stalks and is green when unripe turning yellow or reddish in maturity. The fruit has a sweet flavour and is consumed raw with the tough outer skin discarded.