First Love by Rosie Tasman Napurrurla
The woman makes a Majardi (love belt) and sings her love spell in to it. She knows that once her man puts the belt around her waist he will think of himself as her lover. The woman brings it for the man to put around her waist. She takes up her digging stick and her lover grabs his shield and they run away together in to the bush. They light a fire and lie alongside one another as boyfriend and girlfriend. The people of the tribe gather looking around the bush for the lovers. They run away but are seen traveling along together as a couple.
This is one of 28 prints included in the exhibition Yilpinji, Love Magic & Ceremony that toured throughout Australia and internationally. This is the first time in the history of Aboriginal printmaking that a body of prints became available that focused on a unique aspect of Aboriginal culture. Fifteen senior Aboriginal artists have each created a thematic work on Yilpinji, the love magic practised by the Warlpiri and Kukatja people of the central and western deserts of Australia. This little-known aspect of Aboriginal culture is explored in this important body of etchings, screenprints and linocuts.
This print and the other 27 showing in the exhibition are graphically illustrated with accompanying text in the book, Yilpinji Love Art & Ceremony, written by Christine Nicholls, senior lecturer, Flinders University.
This is an original, limited-edition screenprint created by the artist on acetate sheets and printed by master printmaker Basil Hall on 300gsm Magnani Pesciai archival paper.
- Medium: screenprint
- Image size: 48cm x 38cm
- Paper size: 76cm x 56cm
- Edition size: 50
Rosie was born at Pawarla, north of the Granites area in the Tanami Desert. She has ancestral rights over the wampana (wallaby), janganpa (possum), ngurlu (seed) and kulukuku (bush pigeon) Dreamings, which were passed from her father, Wayipurlungu. Tasman’s traditional country, Miya Miya and Pawarla and the Dreamings associated with these particular sites, provide the inspiration and imagery for her distinctive paintings.
She says that painting provides her with a ‘happy way’ in which to make her culture strong. Rosie Napurrurla Tasman was first introduced to the medium of acrylic paint in 1986, when the first works from Lajamanu were created for a public audience. Since then, painting has played a fundamental role in the ritual and ceremonial life of her family. Both of her siblings, Teddy Japurrurla Morrison and Molly Napurrurla Tasman, are establised artists in the Lajamanu community, and her daughter, Denise Napangardi Robertson, is one of the younger generation of Warlpiri artists.
Tasman’s work alternates between intricate dotted circular motifs and bold gestural brush strokes. Her palette oscillates between traditional ochre colours and a freer application of bright yellows, reds and blues. In her janganpa Dreaming, she employs a technique of a white monochrome background to enhance the kuruwarri (ancestral designs) of the janganpa ancestor and his travels across the country. Her ngurlu Dreamings employ a technique where the iconography of the seed is mirrored in a background circular pattern of dots. This reinforces the essential elements of the seed Dreaming.
Image size: 48cm x 38cm
Paper size: 76cm x 56cm