Sarah Morton Napanangka

Born: 23 October 1973
Region : Yuelamu (Mt Allan)-Northern Territory
Language: Anmatyerre

Sarah Morton Napanangka is the daughter of Don Morton Japangardi, a senior Anmatyerre man (now deceased) who was instrumental in establishing the Yuelamu Museum in Mt Allan in 1987.

Sarah Morton Napanangka commenced painting during that year.

She depicts dreamings associated with her traditional country, which encompasses the area of Mt Allan Station which were passed on by her father.

They include Honey Ant (Yurrampi), Bush Banana, Karnta (Women) and Wati (Men)(Aboriginal Artists Dictionary of Biographies).

The Australian term the Bush refers to the countryside and areas outside the main metropolitan cities.

The plants and fruits that the Aboriginal women collect is referred to as Bush Tucker.

The Bush Banana: Grows in rock crevices close to the dry riverbanks. It is eaten as a fruit or used as a bush medicine as it has both nutritional and healing properties.

It is highly prised by the desert aboriginal women.


Honey Ants:

The Honey Ants are found in the Western Desert of Australia.

They have adapted to their environment and developed an unusual method of storing food for the colony to be used when regular food supplies run low.

The ants harvest honeydew, a by-product of the digestion of Aphids.The Aphids suck the sap from trees and produce sweet honeydew liquid, which they secrete.

The ants use their antenna to stimulate the aphids to release this liquid. A symbiotic relationship has developed between the aphids and ants with the ants looking after the aphids in order to maintain their harvest of honeydew.

In times of rain and good seasons the ants feed the excess honeydew to a special type of worker ant called repletes who stores the Honey Dew in their abdomens which can swell to the size of a small grape.

The repletes hang from the ceiling of the hives underground and in times when food stores run low they are able to provide food for the colony.

The Aboriginal tribes of the Western Desert dig into the ant colonies to find the ants’ hive and to eat their honey, which is considered a delicacy.

The area around Papunya which is nearby to Yuelamu is known as the Honey Ant Dreaming site.

Sarah Morton Napanangka is a good artist and we have several of her painting in Our Gallery.