In her paintings Susie Pitjara Hunter depicts Utopian Women’s Business (Awely) and women’s ceremonial sites or dreaming places where women are gathered. The women’s bodies are decorated with natural ochres of red, white and yellow. They are painted as if seen from an aerial perspective.
The women sit and chant the songlines that have been passed down to them from their ancestors. It is at these women’s business ceremonies that the women pass on their tribal dreamings to the younger ones. These dreamings are like the rules of life.
In the laws of Aboriginal peoples, one of the most important assets is ritual knowledge–knowledge of the stories and ceremonies connecting the people to particular areas of land or waters, and to the creation sagas of the Dreamtime.
Frequently, such knowledge is imparted to limited numbers of people according to position in society (through descent, kinship etc), age, seniority, and sometimes, gender. Some knowledge is to be known only by women and is described as Women’s Business.
‘The women – from all over my country – we dance and sing to the young ones’
Susie Pitjara Hunter
Born circa 1966 into the Alyawarr tribe, Susan Pitjara Hunter is the younger sister of artists Annie, Jessie and Sandy. Susan lives on Utopia in the Eastern Desert. She lives a traditional life spending all her time in the bush with her partner Clements.
Susan Pitjara Hunter (also known as Susie) is one of the most gifted artists of this region. Susan has always had a deep sense of belonging to her country and has remained steadfastly a bush woman.
Her meticulous execution of Women’s Business is rendered with extreme care and respect for her subject matter.
• National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
• National Gallery of Victoria
• Robert Holmes a Court Collection, Perth