Maisie Bundey Ilyarra, Great Sandy Desert, WA, Australia, b. Circa 1949


Maisie Bundey has been painting since 1989 and has always strived to have a different style to her sisters who paint the same country and story.


Her painting is always linked to her original work with batik and the fluid and colourful liberation that this training gave her is evident. She works with a loose-handed dry brush, layering colour to develop her own textured abstract interpretation of the food sources of her country called Alagura on Utopia Station.


Ceremony called "awelye, encourages the season into growth and abundance. The song, dances and body-painting, are part of the education given to young girls between 8 and 14 years. Two main ritual and custodian leaders of the country known as Alagura, "sing up" the ceremony with "Kwurraparra", (ceremonial poles) adorned with white cockatoo feathers, which stand in the centre of the area. Clusters of white feathers are worn on the forehead of the participants, held in place by a hair-string rope. Body paint lines are carefully applied to each woman and girl, with the chief custodian being painted first. Throughout the ceremony the women sing constantly of the story of their country, and the food species that predominate and sustain life. (as depicted in this painting by Maisie). The Aboriginal people have no written language, so these songlines are the only way of passing their customs and secrets down through generations.