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Minnie Pwerle

Born: c. 1920-2006
Region: Utopia-Northern Territory
Language: Alyawarre
Country: Atnwengerrp

Born in the Utopia Station region, Minnie Pwerle’s paintings depict the designs used in women’s ceremonies called Awelye. She painted very spontaneously, and her works are bold and colourful with predominantly free-flowing lines. Barbara Weir, her daughter, is also an artist.

Minnie’s main Dreamings are “Awelye-Atnwengerrp”, “Bush Melon”, and “Bush Melon Seed”. These convey her love and respect for the land and the food it provides to the people. “Awelye-Atnwengerrp” is depicted by a series of lines painted in different widths and colours. This pattern represents the lines painted on the top half of the women’s bodies during ceremonies in their country of Atnwengerrp.

“Bush Melon” is depicted using a linear design of curves, circles, and breast designs in different colours creating a very loose and bold design, while “Bush Melon Seed” is big and small patches of colour strewn across the canvas. Both these dreamings tell the story of this lovely sweet food that comes from a very small bush and is only found in Atnwengerrp. Once very abundant and fruiting in the summer season, the bush melon is now very hard to find. The women would collect this food, which start off green but ripen to a brown colour, and scrap out the small black seeds. The fruit was eaten immediately or cut into small pieces which were skewered and dried ready to be eaten in the coming months when bush tucker was scarce.

Selected exhibitions:

2000 AMP building, Sydney; 2001 Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs; 2001, 2002 Chapman Gallery, Canberra; 2001 San Anselmo, Marin Country, California USA; 2001, 2002 Japingka Gallery, Perth; 2001 Tandanya, Adelaide; 2001 Dreamtime gallery, Santa Fe, U|SA; 2001 Gallery 2021, Auckland, New Zealand; 2002 Gallery New York City, USA; 2002 Knut Grothe Galeri, Charlottlenlund, Copenhagen, Denmark; 2002 Dacou Gallery, Adelaide; 2002 Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane; 2002 Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne; 2002 heart and Soul Gallery, Nashville, USA; 2002 Urban Wineworks Gallery, Portland, USA; 2002 Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs; 2003 Walkabout Gallery, Sydney; 2003 Glen Eira City Council Gallery, Melbourne.

Selected collections:

Hank Ebes Collection, Melbourne; AMP Collection.

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  • Minnie PwerleAwelye

    SKU: AS-011