Songlines' Paintings from Balgo Hills, Page 1



TDB 17. A Soakage in Sandhill Country, Lucy Yukenbarri, 1997, 70 x 47 inches For Sale

Most Aboriginal dreaming stories impart practical as well as spiritual knowledge. An important subtext of these stories involves where water can be found——important survival oriented knowledge for nomadic hunter-gatherers. Lucy has painted the country where she lived a nomadic lifestyle with her family before moving to Balgo Mission. Depicted here is a central rockhole (the red oval), a waterhole collecting the seasonal rains. The black stripe above represents a tree that grows at this watrehole site. What’s interesting about this work is that her paintings generally depict a more close in view of a waterhole and the area around it and in this large work she has depicted a grand sweeping view of the surrounding landscape. The red and white stripes represent the sandhills that dominate this stretch of deep desert country.

Lucy's bold use of color and her thick application of paint to create a dense seemingly unified surface, and her ability to imply landscape through visual shorthand, makes this a classic Lucy composition. Lucy sadly passed away in 2003 and is survived by her husband Helicopter and by their daughter who is on her way to becoming a remarkable painter as well.