Galya Pwerle - Utopia Artist, shares painting stories and Dreamings with her sister Minnie Pwerle.
Emily Pwerle | Awelye Atnwengerrp
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Galya Pwerle was born in the 1930s, the youngest of a family of six girls, including one of Australia’s most acclaimed Aboriginal artists, the late Minnie Pwerle. Galya Pwerle started painting in 2004, along with two of her other sisters, Molly Pwerle and Emily Pwerle, who are the aunts of the renowned painter, Barbara Weir. It was Barbara Weir who encouraged her three aunts to take up the brush and paint their stories. The three sisters live at Irrultja, a small Utopia settlement which is home to about one hundred people.
One of the main subjects of Galya Pwerle ‘s paintings is the grass Portulaca oleracea, a traditional bush food for Aboriginal people in the area. The tiny black seed produced by the grass has been a vital food source for the indigenous people, who use the seeds in a number of ways – ground down to make flour for bread or biscuits, or mixed with water to make a cordial for drinking.
These grass seeds are the subject of one of the Dreaming stories that have been passed down by the Pwerle sisters’ ancestors. Galya Pwerle learned about the seeds as she sat with the old people and watched them draw the story on the ground. Aboriginal art status – Established artist.
2005 Permanent exhibition and collection, Dacou Australia, Rosewater, SA
2005 Group exhibition, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs NT
2005 Group exhibition, Gallery SAvah, Sydney NSW
2006 The Pwerle Sisters, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne Vic
2006 Group Exhibition, APS Bendi Lango Art Exhibition, Rio Tinto Offices, Melbourne Vic
2006 The Pwerle Sisters, Artmob Gallery, Hobart Tas
2006/07 Group exhibition, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane Qld
2007 Permanent exhibition, Dacou Adelaide, Port Adelaide SA
2007 Standing on Ceremony, Tandanya Cultural Institute, Adelaide SA
2007 Utopia in New York, Robert Steele Gallery, New York, USA
2007 Annual Group Exhibition ‘Shalom’, University of NSW, Shalom Department, Kensington, NSW
2007 Desert Diversity, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne Vic
2007 Group exhibition, Australian Embassy, Washington, USA
2007 Treasures of the Spirit – Investing in Aboriginal Art, Tandanya Cultural Institute, Adelaide SA
2007 Annual Group Exhibition, APS Bendi Lango Art Exhibition with Rio Tinto, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane QLD
2007 New Works from Utopia, Space Gallery, Pittsburg, PA, USA
2008 Utopia Collection2, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA