Bush Medicine Leaves
Acrylic on Linen 120 x 120 cm
The bush leaves depicted in this painting are from a particular bush which grows in a swamp close to the sand hills around Utopia in Central Australia. The leaves are collected by the women and boiled. Kangaroo fat is added and mixed into a paste which used as bush medicine to treat a variety of ailments. Mixed with water it is drunk as a cure for headaches and colds. Through skillful use of colour and form the eye is drawn across a network of interconnected shapes, thus creating an optical illusion of the movement of leaves blowing across the Dreaming landscape.
About Abie Loy Kemarre
Abie is a third generation Utopia painter who comes from an outstanding painting family. Her Grandmother is the celebrated Kathleen Petyarre, an artist who began back in the days of batik and remains amongst the greats of the painting movement. She has been responsible for guiding Abie's career and, in turn, Abie has learned a great deal about her indigenous traditions and modern painting techniques. Kathleen's painting sisters including Violet, Gloria and Ada, have also been influential while all of them drew inspiration from another family member, Emily Kame Kngwarreye.
It might be seen that Abie has been in the perfect position to develop as a unique Utopia painter, encouraged and assisted on all sides.Abie says "When I was a little girl I would watch my grandmother Kathleen Petyarre and all the other mob doing the silk, making the silk. I began learning doing silk with Kathleen.
Kathleen was also a schoolteacher at our school, Utopia School... When I was a very young child my grandmother told me she wanted me to be an artist - I love painting and so I thought it over and decided to be an artist then. Ever since those days of watching closely those ladies doing silk I wanted to be an artist too... When my grandmother Kathleen turned to painting in the 80's, I watched that closely too, and ever since, I've always been an artist."Indeed, Abie was just six years old when the batik movement began at Utopia. The activity of art and art making has always surrounded her. It might be said that indigenous modernity in art was part of her own traditional upbringing. With traditional dreamings and mythologies, and her own innovative painting techniques, Abie has created a body of work that places her at the head of the rising generation of Utopia painters.
By 2004 it could rightly be claimed that, Abie is arguably one of the most talented and exciting young Indigenous artists - or for that matter, Australian artists - to emerge in the last decade. Her success is built on discipline, innovation and technique. However, she does not step outside the bounds that have been put in place through Eastern Anmatyarre law. She is the eldest of five children and was born on Utopia Station. Her mother is Margaret Loy and her father, Ray Loy Pula. The family's language is Alyawarre/Eastern Anmatyerre.
At the age of 22 Abie began painting on canvas. Her reputation has partly been established by her astonishing attention to detail and fine dotting. Right from the beginning she demonstrated artistic talent and technical skill with batik and canvas. While she is amongst the top contemporary painters in the country her subject matter is traditional. Bush Turkey Dreaming and Leaves are the two of the major stories Abie paints frequently since she owns them under Eastern Anmatyerre Law. The Bush Leaf (or Leaves) Dreaming is an inheritance from Abie's father's side. The bush leaf grows in a swamp near some sand-hills close to the Utopia region in Abie's grandfather's country and it is known for its wonderful curative properties. The bush leaves can be used to cure a raft of illnesses including colds, headaches, and bad sores. A paste is made from the leaves, which is then rubbed into the affected part of the body. The leaves can also be mixed with water and drunk as a cure for a range of ailments."
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