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Alvira Bird Mpetyane


Awelye for Bush Plum, Rat-tail Plant and Mulga Seed  |  90h x 60w  |  RK580

Not framed or stretched  |  Acrylic on canvas

Alvira Bird Mpetyane (also spelt Mbitjana) was born in 1984 and is the talented daughter of artist Eileen Bird and the late Paddy Bird. Her grandmother was Ada Bird Petyarre, senior law woman and highly respected artist from Utopia.

She comes from one of Australia’s most famous painting families which includes the likes of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Minnie Pwerle and Kathleen Petyarre. She was encouraged by both her mother and father, as well as grandmother and aunties, to paint from a young age.

The linear designs in Alvira's painting represent Awelye (Women's Ceremony and Body Paint Designs) for Ahakeye (Bush plum), Alpar (Rat-tail plant) and Ntang Artety (Mulga seed). These designs are painted onto the chest, breasts, arms and thighs. Powders ground from red and yellow ochre (clays), charcoal and ash are used as body paint and applied with a flat stick with soft padding. The women sing the songs associated with their Awelye as each woman takes her turn to be 'painted-up'. In this painting, Alvira's use of black dots symbolizes the ahakeye when they are ripe and ready to be collected. White dots represent the seeds of Alpar. Yellow dots represent Ntang Artety or Mulga seeds.

Alvira currently lives Mulga Bore, Utopia, NT with her husband and children.

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