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About This Artist

SYLVANA MARKS

Sylvana is a younger artist (born in 1965) and a Luritja woman, (the Luritja are traditional owners of the Kings Canyon area). She lives at Mount Liebig community approximately 250km North of Kings Canyon. Sylvana cares for up to five children and paints infrequently, her works are truly a labour of love, being executed with a single piece of stick the size of a matchstick. She paints with the canvas laid out on the ground and can spend weeks completing a larger piece.

Like the Native Americans, Aboriginal people have animal totems that are assigned to them at birth. With Aboriginal women, their totemic connections extend into the plant kingdom. Sylvana's plant totem is the bush berry, an edible native berry that changes from yellow to black as it ripens. It is therefore Sylvana's duty to pay homage to the bush berry during ceremonies in the form of song and dance. By painting in a permanent medium, Sylvana is extending her role of honouring this native food which has sustained the Luritja people for countless years. Her paintings are basically aerial perspectives or maps of the land that she is connected to and the berries that grow there. The tempo and flow of her dotting will often mirror a ceremonial song that she hums whilst painting.

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