Mai (Bush Food)

Peter Mick

Mai (Bush Food)

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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.

Peter's painting shows minyma tjuta (senior women) with their digging sticks. They are collecting food like
kampurarpa, arnguli, mangata, munu unturngu, (bush tomato, plum, quandong and bush banana).

He has also painted one of the most important bush medicines in desert country, irmangka-irmangka or Scented Emu Bush (Eremophila alternifolia). The leaves are ground and mixed with animal fat or oil to make a rubbing medicine for muscular aches and lung congestion. They can also be steeped in hot water and drunk as a tea or applied to wounds as an antiseptic.

Behind every plant (and animal) are Creation or Law stories which code a wealth of knowledge used not only to hunt and survive but to live in social harmony as well. Paintings are a contemporary way of continuing to celebrate and teach through the Tjukurpa.


Artist: Peter Mick
Title: Mai (Bush Food)
Size: 41 x 85cm
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas

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