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Margaret Scobie

Margaret Scobie was born in 1948 at Woola Downs, she is an Anmatyerre woman from the Utopia region in Central Australia. Her mother was siblings to the famous Petyarre sisters. Whilst Margaret did spend time on her traditional homelands as a young child, she has spent the majority of her life living in Alice Springs. Whilst she does return to Utopia at times, she primarily resides in Alice Springs were she is a well-known figure of the community.

Margaret was introduced to painting during Awelye ceremonies. As a tribal woman, she would often be involved in the body painting that is involved during these women’s ceremonies whereby the women will apply an ochre paste (traditional paint) to their upper bodies, chest, breasts and shoulders. Awelye ceremonies are a significant feature for Anmatyerre women and involve ceremonies and rituals to pay homage to their ancestors and dreamings.

Margaret is well known for her 'Bush Medicine Leaves' paintings - they are vibrant, full of colour and give you the impression of moving leaves in the desert. Other subjects she paints include: the Honey Ant and Mountain Devil, although these are not as popular as her Bush Medicine Leaves. The Bush Medicine Leaves depict the leaves of particular plants which Aboriginal women collect from the Utopia region in Central Australia. The leaves contain medicinal properties and are used for traditional bush medicine. The leaves are boiled and Kangaroo resin added and made into a paste. This is then used to treat wounds, cuts, boils and rashes.

Margaret is a self-representing and independent artist and you can often find her at the local Sunday markets with her paintings or outside of the hospital lawns. Whilst some galleries do have her artworks, for the most part she is in control of her artwork, painting and clientele.