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Selina KAMPRINA NUMINA

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Born in 1978 Selina Kamprina Numina is an emerging Anmatyerre artist in the Utopia region in the Eastern Central Desert of the Northern Territory in Central Australia (north-west of Alice Springs). She has five sisters and three brothers and went to the primary school at Stirling Station, a cattle station near Tennant Creek and later to Kormilda College in Darwin. The six Numina sisters (Selina, Lanita, Jacinta, Caroline, Louise and Sharon) are all emerging artists sharing many totems and they learned painting at a young age from their aunties, the renowned artists Gloria and Kathleen Petyarre.

Aboriginal women have their own ceremonies in which a series of song and dance cycles tell of the ancestral beings who walked the earth teaching women's law and ceremony to isolated groups living throughout the desert. Each tribe has its own set of women ancestors with different stories, designs and dances, but most of the ceremonies have one theme common to all groups, that of food gathering as the most important part of women's lives.

Like many of the Anmatyerre women from the Utopia Homelands near Ti Tree, one of Selina’s totems is the bush medicine plant which is an Australian native that grows wild in Central Australia. The Kurrajong tree (Brachychiton) are believed to date back some 50 million years with 30 species of the tree ranging from 4 to 30 metres high. The larger trunks of some species can be used for storing water, whilst the leaves are used as bush medicine. The women go to different places around Utopia to collect the leaves and back at the camp boil them to extract resin. Kangaroo fat is mixed into the resin, creating a paste which can be stored for a long time in bush conditions. The medicine is used to heal cuts, wounds, bites, rashes and also acts as an insect repellent.

By painting about "Bush Medicine" Selina is paying homage to the spirit of the medicine plant in the hope that it will regenerate, enabling the people to continue to benefit from its healing properties. Because of their healing properties and their almost mesmerising effects, bush medicine leaf paintings are also highly collectable within the medical and healing professions both in Australia and internationally.