Bernadine Johnson was born in 1965 at Utopia, northeast of Alice Springs, Northern Territory.In her paintings, she incorporates traditional iconography and realistic elements. The themes are primarily bush medicines, yam dreaming and body painting. As a bush woman, she is familiar with her land and its abundance of bush tucker species, medicine plants and native fauna. These are the stories inherited by her, along with important women’s stories, and which form the basis of her paintings.
Bernadine is married to Stephen Martin Pitjara, the brother of well-known artist Anna Price Pitjara. Bernadine divides her time between Alice Springs and Adelaide, where she spends a majority of her time with her husband and two children.
Bush Medicine Leaves are taken from the Bush Fuscia (Eremophila) and are collected by the women to create this versatile medicine. It is used in a variety of different ways. The leaves can be boiled in water and the liquid used as a drinking medicine. This medicine can ease stomachache. The Leaves can also be crushed before being boiled and was traditionally mixed with Kangaroo Fat to create a salve that is applied to burns and abrasions on the skin. It can also be beneficial for dry skin or sore muscles. Today, this bush medicine rub is made using bees wax and olive oil in place of the Kangaroo fat.
Bio courtesy of Yubu Napa.