91cm x 61cm
This piece is Barbara’s depiction of the bush foods collected by the women for the Birthing Ceremony which is held after the women give birth and perform the smoking ceremony that accompanies this special event in a mother’s life. During this ceremony, the newborn baby is bathed in smoke from the camp fire, wherein the child is held near the fire and the smoke is fanned over them. The women are not permitted to watch the ceremony and are given the task of collecting the bush food while this is taking place. Only the baby’s mother, aunties and grandmother are obliged present. The women are then sent away to wait for the ceremony to begin. This is a very important and sacred ceremony, as this smoking ceremony wards off evil spirits from the nearby salt lake. Barbara tells us that if the ceremony is not performed the child will be stolen by the spirits and never seen again.