Minnie was rated in the March 2003 issue of "Australian Art Collector"
magazine as one of the 50 most collectable artists in Australia.
Born: c 1910
Died: March, 2006
Region: Central Desert
Art centre: Utopia Batik and Arts
Language: Anmatyerre, Alyawarr
Social Affiliation: Pwerle subsection
National Gallery of Victoria
Queensland Art Gallery,
Gallery of NSW
Art Gallery of South Australia
Kelton Foundation, USA
Thomas Vroom Collection, The Netherlands
2004 Minnie Pwerele, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne.
2003 Minnie Pwerle Original & Authentic Aboriginal Art, Melbourne
2001 Women Artists of the Australian Desert Auckland, New Zealand
2000 Minnie Pwerle Sydney
2000, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT
2001, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT
2002, 'Generations', Japingka Gallery, WA
2002, 'The Utopia Six', Flinders Lane Gallery, Vic
2002, Chapman Gallery, ACT
2002, 'United - Mother and Daughter', Alison Kelly Gallery, Vic
2002, New York City, USA
2002, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT
2002, October, Heart and Soul Gallery, Nashville, TN, USA
2002, October, Mary Woods, Portland, OR, USA
2002, October, Urban Wineworks, Portland, OR, USA
2002, October, Carriage House Gallery - 'In the Cove', Portland, OR, USA
2003, Feb, World Vision_Walkabout Gallery, Sydney "My Grandmother and Me" 2
2003, March, Light Over Utopia, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA
Ryan, Judith. Colour Power - Aboriginal Art Post 1984, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2004.
Birnberg & Kreczmanski, Aboriginal Artists dictionary of biographies, JB Publishing, (C).
Minnie Pwerle was born around 1910 in the Utopia region.
As one of 6 six children she enjoyed a colourful childhood,
later becoming the mother of 7 children of her own; Minnie
was always a well-loved member of a large family. Her country
is known as Atnwengerrp and her languages Anmatyerre and Alyawarr.
Minnie's career as an artist began through Aboriginal ceremony
and ritual. Her craft instigated by her appointment as a body
painter during Women's ceremonies. Body paint designs are worn
to represent Dreamings and various symbols specific to particular
rituals. Usually the upper body is covered in animal fat and
intricate designs painted on the chest, back and arms with paints
made from ochre's.
It was not until 1999 at approximately 80 + years of age, that
Minnie began painting on canvas. Her first series of works painted
at the Utopia Communities workshops were linear paintings, expressing
a bold, free-flowing, enigmatic style that quickly drew the interest
of critics and art lovers alike. The artists primary Dreamings include
"Awelye-Atnwengerrp" (Women's Dreaming), "Bush Melon", and "Bush Melon Seed".
The Bush Melon itself once bountiful in supply has slowly diminished
over time. The fruit could be eaten immediately or dried and stored
for later use. A plant specific to the Atnwengerrp region, Minnie's
Dreamings tell the story of a treasured delicacy that sustained her
people for long periods of time. Linear designs of circles, curves
and breast designs depict the "Bush Melon", while "Bush Melon Seed"
is represented by large and small patches of colour strewn across
the canvas. Lines of various width and colour represent the body paint
designs worn by the women during ceremony or "Women's Dreaming".
Minnie's more recent works have drawn comparisons to Emily Knwarreye's
"Wild Yam Stories" painted in the mid 1990's. Eclectic in nature, her
work seems to combine modernism, contemporary theory, impressionism and
Aboriginality while also expressing a story of her own sacred dreamings.
Her combination of historical visual styles and spiritual content promote
a sense of unity amongst two vary different spheres of influence.
As the mother of Barbara Weir, also a well know Aboriginal artist, it
is clear that Minnie has successfully past on her talent. Her contributions
to the Aboriginal art movement have been invaluable, as a respected elder
of her community her work offers insight in to the spiritual world of the
Australian Aborigine, whilst providing visual art lovers with a striking,
and highly unique collection of works to enjoy.
(Notes courtesy of Jinta)
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