Awely – Body Paint
This painting is currently on exhibition in London at Richmond Hill Gallery:
Joy Jones’ inspiration for her paintings is derived from her knowledge of Awely or women’s business. Awely describes everything associated with women’s ceremonies or rituals including the painted designs adorning the women’s bodies.
In preparation for the ceremonies, the women paint designs on the top half of their body using a variety of powders, ground from charcoal and yellow and red ochre. The body paint designs vary from ceremony to ceremony and depend on the subject and the time of year the ceremony is held. Different symbols are painted on the body and may vary from person to person depending on the seniority of each member. Joy Kngwarreye Jones’s paintings represent her interpretation of these designs which she views from an aerial perspective.
Note: The women’s ceremonies are focal points in the life of the community and are integral to the happiness and well being of the people. They gather together and sing and dance led by the most senior women of the clan group. It is at these ceremonial gatherings that the women, especially the younger ones, are taught the tribal dreamings or rules of life by the senior women.