I recently bought a painting by Peter Overs, an aboriginal artist from the Kamilaroi people, currently living in Alice Springs, in the centre of Australia. Painted with acrylic on canvas, it is quite small, (300mm square) but I was really impressed by its graphic qualities, and the ideas behind it. He was born in 1976, and is one of a newer generation of artists painting traditional aboriginal themes in a contemporary style. He was one of the first of the Kamilaroi to be initiated in tribal ways for over 100 years and has taken the traditional name of Dhinawan Marii, or Emu Queensland. The main subject of his wonderfully geometric paintings (some are very large) is the Emu Dreaming Story which relates to the balance and order of the Universe. The story tells of how the Emu eats the quandong fruit and the seeds get stuck in its beak and feet. As the birds move around the countryside they spread the seeds and new fruit trees grow. Thus both fruit and bird are interdependent. The nutritious and juicy quandong or native peach is a staple food of the bush as well as a source of nuts and oil. The painting shows the movement of the Emu’s feet as it walks around the bush.
I bought the painting from the Kate Owen Gallery, in Sydney, one of the best galleries devoted to Aboriginal Art:
They have a great choice of Peter Over’s work, and many others. Easy to post as the paintings are carefully rolled up in a cardboard tube, it arrived in a few days.
For more of his paintings and a good description of the Emu Dreaming story: