Karen Bird Ngala
Anmatyerre Language Group
90 x 45cm
Ref No: KB51176
In this painting Karen depicts the Alpar, or rat-tail goosefoot. This small erect herb is sticky to touch and heavily scented of citrus. Growing especially well in Mulga tree areas, it is found in abundance on the Utopia Community, north east of Alice Springs. It produces small clustered flowers that form long spikes and small black, shiny seeds, which are high in protein. Due to the sticky nature of the plant the seeds do not drop as soon as they mature, making them available much later in the season than most other plants. In the olden days women would collect the seeds to make damper and the leaves would be soaked in water and used as a medicinal wash.
In this painting the dot work represents the the dry seeds of the alpar, ready to be collected.
Karen Bird was born in 1984 and is the daughter of Lindsay Bird, a senior elder and prominent male artist of the Utopia region. Along with other young women Karen is taught the stories, songs and dances associated with ceremony by senior women of the community.