Aboriginal Symbols

  • September's Focus Artist: Tanya Bird Mpetyane in Aboriginal Art Stories, Aboriginal Artists, Aboriginal Symbols
    30 Aug 2016  | 1 Comment

    Tanya Bird Mpetyane

    Born in 1981, Tanya Bird Mpetyane grew up surrounded by the constancy of painting with her family.  Tanya grew up in Ilkawerne country, and speaks the Anmatyerre language.  Daughter of artists Paddy and Eileen Bird of Utopia, and granddaughter of renowned artist Ada Bird Petyarre, there was no doubt that Tanya would possess the same skills as her family.  Tanya first began painting in her teenage years and to this day her artwork continues to be strongly influenced by the close connection she shared with her grandmother, Ada, who passed away in 2009. 


    In 2010, Tanya began using black, grey and white designs to depict her subjects.  Her subjects include Ahakeye (Bush Plum), Alpar (Rat-tail Plant), Awelye (women’s ceremony and body paint designs), and the Ayara Seed.  Her intricate designs may be perplexing to the untrained eye, however the symbols within her paintings tell a beautiful story.  


    Pictured above: Tanya Bird Mpetyane's piece ‘Awelye (Women's Ceremony) for Ahakeye (Bush Plum)’ - 180x90cm.


    Pictured above: Describing the symbols used to portray the stories that Tanya uses in ‘Awelye (Women's Ceremony) for Bush Plum’, which also translates across many of her paintings.

    Pictured above: Tanya often includes the Ahakeye (Bush Plum) as a subject in her paintings, and it can be seen close up in all its grandeur above.

    In 2013, Tanya had the exciting opportunity to meet with Federico Chiara of Vogue Italia Magazine to contribute to an overall piece promoting tourism in Australia.  In the same year she was also a finalist in the 30th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (NATSIAA).

    Pictured above: Tanya with Federico, with Michelle Jackson (International Marketing Coordinator Tourism NT at the time) and Eileen Bird chatting in the background.

  • Lily Lion by TimJ
    in Aboriginal Art News , Gallery News, Aboriginal Art Stories, Aboriginal Artists, Aboriginal Art Designs , Aboriginal Symbols
    2 Jul 2015  | 0 Comments

    Lily Lion Kngwarrey - Alhepalh

    Alhepalh by Lily Lion

    This is a close up of the same painting above by Lily Lion. Here you can see the fabulous colours she uses and attention to detail in her paintings.


    Lily was born around the mid 1960's. (Born in the bush so no accurate records!) So therefore she is now around 50 years old. She has always been a beautiful painter with a terrific work ethic. The paintings we have here on view were recently seen by a Japanese journalist in our gallery who stated that they reminded him of Japanese paintings that are very delicate and precise - and I completely agree! They are quite beautiful.

    The Dreamtime story her paintings represent is an Acacia tree called Alhepalh in the Alyawarr language which is Lily's skin group. It's a very long and thin shrub from which hunting spears were made from. The seeds were also ground into flours and edible grubs were found in the roots.

  • Aboriginal Art - Designs and Symbols - Ilyarnayt by AussieArtPro
    in Aboriginal Art News , Aboriginal Art Stories, Aboriginal Artists, Aboriginal Art , Aboriginal Art Designs , Aboriginal Symbols
    15 Jun 2015  | 0 Comments

    Aboriginal Art Designs and Symbols - Ilyarnayt - Sarah Morton Kngwarrey

    Within the aboriginal art world many artists will paint the Ilyarnayt or Witchetty Bush Dreaming.  Sarah Morton paints the flower of the Ilyarnayt Bush. Sarah lives at the Rocket Range outstation in the Utopia area of Central Australia. She has been painting this art design amongst others  for over 20 years.  In the early years, according to Tim Jennings, General Manager of Mbantua Gallery in Alice Springs, Sarah lacked a bit of confidence in her self-expression on canvas. But for the past 10 years she has produced some stunning fine colour combination pieces such as this artwork below. Sarah really loves to paint and can really absorb herself in her work when doing so. In particular her large paintings can take a considerable amount of time to finish.


    One of Sarah Morton's Ilyarnayt designs using the symbols from the flower of the Acacia Shrub

    Ilyarnayt 48909 by Sarah Morton

    Her Dreamtime story for these paintings is the flower of the Ilyarnayt (Acacia Validinervia). This particular Acacia shrub is a little different to many other Acacia's because the seed was not eaten.  However the roots of the plant produced many grubs for eating which remain a significant delicacy and source of protein to the Aboriginal people living on their lands. This shrub is commonly called the 'Witchetty Bush'.


    A close up of the flowers of the Ilyarnayt or Acacia Shrub more commonly called the Witchetty Bush.

    Close up of Ilyarnayt 48909 showing the very fine brush work done by Sarah in this painting.


    Ilyarnayt or Witchetty Shrub Flower painted by Sarah Morton, an aboriginal artist from Utopia.

    Another one of Sarah artworks showing the intricate patterns she uses in her artwork.


    Ilyarnayt or Witchetty Shrub Flower painted by Sarah Morton, an aboriginal artist from Utopia.

    Close up of Ilyarnayt 49348





  • Aboriginal Art - Designs and Symbols - Soakage by AussieArtPro
    in Aboriginal Art News , Aboriginal Art Stories, Aboriginal Artists, Aboriginal Art , Aboriginal Art Designs , Aboriginal Symbols
    15 Jun 2015  | 1 Comment

    Lena Pwerle - Soakage

    Beautiful blues and browns

     This is a great example of the 'Soakage' design that is used in aboriginal art by Lena Pwerle, an artist from Utopia. Lena has been a good friend of Mbantua Gallery owner, Tim Jennings, for close to 30 years. They first met when Lena lived at an outstation some 300 kms north east of Alice Springs called Ngkwelalamime. Even in those days she was known as 'The Boss Woman' and to this day she still is.


    Years later she started to do this beautiful, colourful design (below)  that is so popular with art lovers today and she loves painting it! She also has, as you can clearly see, an innate ability to create a multitude of colours that work well together.

    Soakage Art Design by Lena Pwerle

    Aboriginal Art Designs, Dreamtime and Sacred Sites.  'Soakage' by Lena Pwerle.


    Aboriginal Art Design - Soakage

    Close up of Soakage by Lena Pwerle.


    The soakage that Lena refers to in her paintings is a rockhole near the Mosquito Bore Outstation where her people drank water from for thousands of years. It is not used today because the outstations all have bore water. Many soakages or rockholes, are considered as Sacred Sites and part of the Aboriginal Dreamtime.



    Soakage Art Designs










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