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The painting refers to Maureen Hudson Nampitjinpa’s traditional country (Mt Allen, or Yuelamu) in the Tanami region of Central Australia. Her works will usually represent some or all of her country, reflecting an aerial perspective of sand dunes, clay pans, soakage, waterholes, dried spinifex and important ceremonial sites for aboriginal women.
The inspiration for this artwork is the sand dune country that dominates Maureen’s home at Yuelamu (Mt Allen) to the North West of Alice Springs in the Tanami Region. Known as Tali in most of the Central Australian Aboriginal language groups, these Sandhills are set in parallel rows depending on the direction of the winds that have formed them. The valleys between these dunes can be either very productive and support a wider range of edible plants, medicines and wild life. Other areas can be remarkably barren, depending on the amount of water that has built up here and the quality of the soil. With these sand dunes being so high, it is often impossible to see what kind of country lies beyond each hill. The elders of these areas have travelled through this country often enough that they very aware of which places can offer sources of food, water, medicine and shelter – and this knowledge is passed down from generation to generation.
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