Natasha Beasley was born in 1972 in Ampilatwatja, an Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory of Australia. Natasha enjoys painting with her sister Traphina Beasley and says ” I find that painting makes me feel good I want to continue painting. My kids like to paint too”.
The community of Ampilatwatja made a conscious decision not to paint ‘altyerr’ dreaming stories, the artists paint their country where those stories sit. This painting shows the layered landscape of Alyawarr, Central Australia. Knowing your country is an important part of living in a remote community like Ampilatwatja. Knowing when and where to go hunting and gathering, knowing where there is ‘soakage’ (where you can dig for water), travelling with family for ceremonies, and maintaining a connection with the land.
“This is my country, my view of country.”
“Bush medicine plants are used for healing on the body and for drinking. We make this by smashing the plants with a rock, we use the juice and the fibre of the plant. We collect bush medicine plants when we are out hunting. Different kinds of plants grow during different seasons. There are lots of different medicines, we know what their stories are, we learnt them from our parents and we teach these stories to our
children.” Bush medicine knowledge is still strong in Ampilatwatja, it continues to be passed down to the younger generations and is widely used. When the women go hunting they often gather bush medicine. The plants depicted here are found in the country around Ampilatwatja, they are used for soothing skin infections and to make a drink to help with colds and coughs. Painting bush medicine stories is important because it helps to maintain a strong knowledge and culture for the community.
[Information used with kind permission of Artists of Ampilatwatja. Copyright of all artwork and text remains with the artists and Aboriginal traditional owners and is administered on their behalf by Artists of Ampilatwatja.]