Medicine Leaves, 2002
This painting refers simultaneously to awelye or women’s ceremonies and the body paint designs that are worn for the duration; and to a plant known as Titye, a tree whose leaf is used in traditional bush medicine.
Abie’s finesse as a painter is expressed in many different styles. Here she captures with superb linearity and wonderful use of colour the different stages of the Titye leaves growth. When the plant is still young the leaves are picked; boiled with fat; and then rubbed into the skin, acting somewhat like a muscle tonic. As the leaves mature they take on many different hues, which Abie has explored here in this work.
This altyerre or dreaming of Abie’s has been passed down to her by her father; while her aunt, Rita Pwerl Loy, is responsible for ensuring that she maintains her obligations in regards to it.