Contemporary Eastern Anmatyerr art is founded upon a rich tradition of body painting that is highly gender specific.Abie Loy Kemarre“’s body painting works reflect this tradition, arising from awelye, women“’s only ceremonies in which paint is applied to women“’s upper bodies (and in some special circumstances, to their thighs) by other women.
In the old days the women used their fingertips and small sharpened twigs to apply ground and coloured ochres (red, white & yellow) mixed with animal fats. The colour black was also used in body painting and was obtained either from charcoal or over-ripe bush plums. Using other women“’s bodies as the “œcanvas“, there were strict rules regarding which specific designs could be applied. This took place within a holistic ceremonial process, involving not only painting but also narration, music, song and dance. Abie Loy Kemmarre references the performativity of women“’s ceremonial life in these kinetic and daringly innovative canvases, capturing the three ““ dimensionality of the human body in movement.