Barbara Weir

Barbara Weir - Utopia Artist, Awleye - Body Paint, Grass Seed, Spirit Looking After Country and Mother's Country Dreamings

Barbara Weir was born in 1945 at the former Bundy River Station in the Utopia region.  Her country is Atnwengerrrp and her language is Anmatyerre and Alyawarr. Barbara Weir’s mother is the famous artist Minnie Pwerle, and her father was Irish. She was ‘hidden’ from the age of two at Utopia where she was “grown up” by her aunty Emily Kame Kngwarreye.  At the age of 9 years, while collecting water, Barbara Weir was taken by officers of Native Welfare and her family believed she had been killed. She was fostered out to various families, first in Alice Springs, then in Victoria, and Darwin. During these years she lost contact with her family but never forgot and was determined to return and re-claim her heritage.

In the late 1960’s Barbara Weir returned to Utopia with her 6 children. She re-learned the languages and her culture and re-established contact with all her family including the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye and her Grandfather Quartpot Akemarr. Being exposed to many artists at Utopia, in particular Emily, in the early 1990’s Barbara Weir developed a profound interest in painting. In 1994, Barbara Weir along with a small group of artists from Utopia, travelled to Indonesia to learn more about the art of batik. The Utopia women were well known for their beautiful batiks as this had contributed to the Aboriginal community re-establishing economic links in Utopia in 1979. Barbara Weir returned full of ideas for developing her own creative painting style. In 1996, she travelled to Paris and Switzerland at the request of a European gallery, which commissioned some of her work.  Private collectors quickly purchased the works and this proved to be the turning point in Barbara Weirs’s artistic career.

After Emily’s passing in 1996, Barbara Weir concentrated on developing her skill as an artist, and soon her contemporary style attracted the attention of collectors. Some of the painting subjects that have propelled her into the mainstream of the art world include “Bush Berry”, “Grass Seed”, “Wild Flower” and “My Mother’s Country”, which includes backgrounds of abandoned bush camps, forms of women’s bodies, creeks, waterholes and other important objects and sites.

In 1996, following time in France and Switzerland, Barbara Weir travelled to St Louis, USA. Barbara Weir resides in Alice Springs, and continues to seek new ways to represent her Aboriginal heritage. This constant search for her own visual voice means that Barbara Weir is continually experimenting with colour and patterns, making her one of the most innovative Aboriginal artists working in Australia. A selection of paintings by Barbara Weir is available from Japingka Gallery, where collectors can buy Aboriginal art online with certainty of quality, authenticity and provenance of art works. Aboriginal art status – Established artist.

Selected Exhibitions:

1995   Dacou Gallery, Adelaide
1996  Framed Gallery, Darwin
1996   Gallery Woo Mang and Partners, Paris, France
1996   Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne
1996   Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney
1996   Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane
1997   Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
1997   Hogarth Galleries, Sydney
1997   Dacou Gallery, Adelaide
1997   Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane
1997   Barry Stern Gallery, Sydney
1997   Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne
1998   ARTEXPO, New York, USA
1998   Chapman Gallery, Canberra
1998   Adelaide Festival Theatre, Adelaide
1998   Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane
1998   Exhibited widely in Europe – Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands
1999   Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
1999   Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne
1999   Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney
1999   Tandanya, Adelaide
2000  Gallery Savah, Sydney
2000   ArtSauce, Singapore
2000   Redback Art Gallery, Brisbane
2000  Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney
2000  “Women’s Business”, Chicago, USA
2001   Chapman Gallery, Canberra
2001   Tandanya, Adelaide
2001   Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs
2002   Knut Grothe Galeri, Charlottlenlund, Copenhagen, Denmark
2002   Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2002   Gallery Savah, Sydney
2002   Framed Gallery, Darwin
2002   Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney
2002  Reunited – with Minnie Pwerle, Alison Kelly Gallery, Melbourne, Vic
2003   Light over Utopia, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2003   Alison Kelly Gallery, Melbourne
2003   Glen Eira City Council Gallery, Melbourne
2003   Dacou Gallery, Adelaide
2004   Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, Vic
2005   Utopia, Gallery Savah, Sydney, NSW
2006   Recent Paintings, Gallery Savah, Sydney, NSW.
2006  Utopia, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, Vic
2006   Colours of Utopia, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2007   Artists of Utopia, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2007   Best of  the Best, Framed Gallery, Darwin, NT
2007   Blowing in the Wind, Artmob, Hobart, Tas
2007   New Works from Utopia, Space Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
2008   Utopia Collection, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2009   Utopia, Colours of the Desert, Australian Embassy in Korea & Crossbay Gallery, Seoul
2009   Holmes Á Court Gallery, Perth, WA
2009   My Country, Dacou Gallery Melbourne, Vic
2009   Summer Collection, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2012   Heirs & Successors, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2015   Sixteen Artists – 16 x 2, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA