Mary Lewis and the Akarley tree

Mary Lewis - Flowers of the Arkarley Tree

These gorgeous works are by Mary Lewis, a new artist from the Utopia art community. Mary paints the delicate, white flowers of the 'Akarley' inspired by an ancient Dreamtime story of her country Atnwengerrp (pronounced a NOONG-a-pa).

'Akarley' is the name in Mary's language for the northern wild orange (Capparis umbonata). It is a small tree with dark bark and weeping foliage which grows about 3 metres high. It is, unsurprisingly, drought-tolerant and is found in open forests and woodland in North-Western Australia, the Northern Territory and North Queensland.

The fruits of all Capparis species were important to Aborigines as bush tucker. They are rich in micronutrients and anti-oxidants, the Akarley was a favourite as it tastes better than the other species.

Mary Lewis - Flowers of the Arkarley Tree

The fruit, or caper berries, hang down on long stalks. They turn yellow or have a red tinge when ripe. Most commonly they are picked during February, a little early to prevent birds and insects eating the fruit, then ripened in hot sand.

Mary Lewis - Flowers of the Arkarley Tree

Mary paints to share her Dreamtime story with younger women and girls, ensuring their culture lives on, and ancient knowledge is passed through the generations.

30 x 30cm, acrylic on linen canvas. All works for sale, please contact for details.

Wild orange tree images ©Mark Marathon


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© Nadia Phillips 2020