Amwekety (Bush Plum), 2002
Gracie is one of the senior traditional custodians for both the Altyerre (Dreaming) and the vast expanse of related country.
This magnificent painting depicts Amwekety – the Bush Plum, a plant of great significance to the women of Gracie Pwerle Morton’s traditional country, Mosquito Bore, which is located some 263 kms north of Alice Springs. This Altyerre (Dreaming), in accordance to traditional law, has been passed down to Gracie from her father and her aunt, Kemarre, who are responsible for ensuring that she perseveres its traditions and maintains its laws.
Using an aerial perspective Gracie’s delicate dotting and colour variation depicts the surrounding landscape. She portrays the branches of the Bush Plum during the winter months when women come to gather the ripened fruit. It is generally found growing along creek beds. The Bush Plum is a prostrate plant which grows in a great profusion of colour after the fall of rain but very quickly disintegrates after long hot summer months. It is a small fruit with black seeds that can be eaten raw or cooked to make bush damper and has an extremely high vitamin C content.
The Bush Plum Dreaming site is one of the major Dreamings of the Utopia region. Throughout this painting there is a profusion of the dry seeds of the native bush plum (canthium latifolium) a fruit which proliferates in that area.
The ‘bush plum’ which is in fact a native currant, grows on a tall, straight, thin broad-leaved, lightish- coloured tree, and is initially green, than gradually turns black as it ripens. These fruit grow in small black clusters.
The intersecting lines represent the ‘ritual activities of women who are singing, dancing and painting women’s body designs (awelye) on their limbs.
These are characteristically applied, in ceremonial contexts, to the breasts, upper back, shoulders and thighs, in parallel horizontal and vertical lines and streaks’.
Source: Dr Christine Nicholls
A highly regarded contemporary Australian artist, Gracie began her painting career in the 1980’s at Utopia working initially with batik before transposing her designs onto canvas. Gracie has a distinctively minimalist style, highlighted by delicate dotting and a traditional palette. The finesse of her style captured on canvas enchants the eye with its airy lyricism and movement and the use of subtle shades of colour.