Jeannie Mills Pwerle
Jeannie Mills Pwerle is one of the large group of innovative women artists of the Utopia Homelands, located about 270 km from Alice Springs. Jeannie Mills Pwerle is from the Alyawarr language group and is the daughter of well known Utopia artist Dolly Mills Petyarre. Jeannie is also the niece of senior artist Greeny Purvis Petyarre.
Jeannie Mills Pwerle paints images of the bush yam, Anaty, also known as the Pencil Yam. The Anaty (Desert Yam or Bush Potato, Ipomoea costata) Dreaming story comes from Jeannie’s father’s country, Irrwelty, which is Alyawarr country.
In her paintings, Jeannie Mills Pwerle represents the tuber of the yam, which the women dig from the soft sands around the river banks or in open country. When the yams are in season, the women can collect a large billy can full of tubers in a short time. The Yam plant grows as a vine or shrub which makes pink flowers after summer rains. Jeannie Mills Pwerle paints the tiny seeds of the yam flower which surround the yam tuber in her paintings.
Jeannie Mills Pwerle participated in the ‘Colours of Utopia’ exhibition at Japingka Gallery in 2006 and has been a regular contributing artist since then. Jeannie Mills Pwerle is represented in major national collections including in the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra and the Holmes à Court Collection in Perth. Aboriginal art status – Established artist.
This Yarla Jukurrpa belongs to men of the Japaljarri subsections and to Napalijarri women. It comes from an area to the east called Cockatoo Creek. Yarla (bush potato) are fibrous that grow beneath a low spreading plant, found by looking for cracks in the ground. The edible tuber grows from “yartura” which seeks out moisture to sprout new plants. Yarla are good to eat, when cooked they are really soft and tasty.
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Title: Anaty (Desert Yam)
Designs in this painting reflect the Anaty, desert yam dreamings. The Anaty is the Alyawarr word for desert yam which is similar to a sweet potato and grows in the wild across Central Australia. Growing up to the size of a human head, this yam is an important food source for the Aboriginal people of Central Australia and is still collected and eaten today.
The linear brushwork represents the yam and flower, while the dot work in this painting represents its seed.