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Pencil Yam

Pencil Yam

Rosemary Petyarre


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Title: Pencil Yam
Artist: Rosemary Petyarre
Size: 90 x 60 cm
Medium: Acrylic on canvas

COA and pictures of the artist holding and signing her work will be provided.


The linear pattern in this Aboriginal artwork symbolises the roots of the pencil yam plant. The dots represent the pea flowers of the plant that flourish after rainfall in Central Australia. The pencil yam is an Australian native plant and a staple food source for Aboriginal people. It is still eaten today. There are many significant Dreaming rituals surrounding the plant.

In the Dreamtime, two different seeds were born that created two different species of pencil yam. Kame, the tiny seed of the pencil yam called Atnwelarr, is a major Dreaming story for the people of Alhalkere.

The Atnwelarr is a trailing herb or creeper, sometimes covering large areas, with bright green leaves, yellow flowers and long skinny yams (swollen roots).  These are an important food source which can be eaten raw or cooked in hot sand and ashes. 

Artists who paint this story:

Rosemary Petyarre, Mary Petyarre, Naomi Pwerle, Elizabeth Kunoth Kngwarreye, Bessie Petyarre, Delvine Petyarre, Carol Kunoth Kngwarreye, Dolly Mills Petyarre, Jennifer Purvis Kngwarreye, Greeny Purvis Petyarre (dec), Alan Petyarre, Emily Kame Kngwarreye (dec), 


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