Grandmother’s Country

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Grandmother’s Country: Gabriella Possum Nungurrayi
Presented by Australian Aboriginal Art Gallery
Women are the principle gatherers of Bush Tucker and it is an important part of everyday life within the family clan. This particular painting, Grandmother’s Country, depicts women collecting food and also celebrates the fertility of the land. Aboriginal paintings are based on the myths of the Dreamtime. In modern dot representations, the sacred aspect of the painting is not always revealed, but the meaning remains, transmitted through symbols that are easily understood.

Each person has a particular Dreaming to which they belong and they have special ceremonial dances and songs that combine together to form a unique belief that makes up the lives of the Aboriginal people. All things relate to the land and thus the land is of great importance to them. The land is the keeper of the Dreaming and must be kept safe for all time so that the Dreaming stories, which are told in the paintings, can be preserved. Gabriella Possum Nungarrayi is one of Australia’s premier female Aboriginal artists from the Central Desert who is currently working in Melbourne. At an early age, Gabriella began painting alongside her father the renowned, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, whose works are represented in major galleries and private collections worldwide. He passed on his skills to his daughter, whose paintings reflect his unique style.

Gabriella Possum Nungarrayi is one of Australia’s premier female Aboriginal artists from the Central Desert who is currently working in Melbourne. At an early age, Gabriella began painting alongside her father the renowned, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, whose works are represented in major galleries and private collections worldwide. He passed on his skills to his daughter, whose paintings reflect his unique style.

Gabriella’s artistic skill was first rewarded in 1983 when she gained an award in the prestigious Alice Springs Prize while still a student at Yirara College. Her work has been praised as being “innovative” and “culturally significant”. Gabriella uses modern materials (acrylic paints on canvas) to create traditional designs. Her colours are inspired by the dramatic contrast in colour of the Central Desert landscape. Gabriella’s Dreamings include Women’s Ceremonies, Goanna Dreaming and the Seven Sisters Milky Way Dreamings which have been handed down through generations of ancestors. Her work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra) and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

Some of her most famous work has included the 2008 Chelsea Garden Show. the design of the Art Tram during the 2014 Festival of Melbourne, and the design of the Opera House for the 2016 Vivid Festival in Sydney.
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