Inma (traditional ceremony)

Nellie Patterson Profile & Artworks

Inma (traditional ceremony)

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Paintings depict the Tjukurpa, the Law and stories of Ancestors. Anangu (Central and Western Desert Aboriginal people) have responsibilities for the protection and teaching of different Tjukurpa and there are strict protocols for the imparting of knowledge. The dotting technique has evolved with the need to adapt sacred expressions of Tjukurpa for public viewing and as a depiction of the desert landscape.


Nellie has painted inma or ceremony - the singing, dancing and body painting which reveals the laws of nature and provides a blue print for life and a guiding map of country. Concentric circles mark places of importance: water points or sacred sites, created by the Ancestors. The sites are linked through the song cycles and stories and the people who still meet today to share and celebrate and pass on the different Tjukurpa and the links it forms with all living things. 


She celebrates foods of the desert: kampurarpa, arnguli, munu unturngu, (bush tomato, plum, and bush banana). On either side are tjala, honey ants that live under the ground beneath the mulga trees, and kalaya, or emu.



Artist: Nellie Patterson
Title: Inma (traditional ceremony)
Size: 91cm x 91cm
Medium: Acrylic on canvas


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