Minnie Pwerle Paintings
Minnie Pwerle (c1910–2006) is a famous Aboriginal artist from Utopia, paints Awelye Body Painting.
Minnie Pwerle | Awelye – Anemangkerr (Bush Melon)
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Date of Birth
c.1920 – 2006
Place of Birth
Who is Minnie Pwerle?
Minnie Pwerle(c1910– 2006) was an Australian Aboriginal artist who was born and lived in theUtopia region of the Northern Territory. Her country was Atnwengerrp, and her languages were Anmatyerre and Alyawarr. Minnie’s emergence and dominance in the world of contemporary art has been compared to the legendary Emily Kame Kngwarreye, who like Minnie, began her painting career in her mid seventies and continued to paint with an energy that belied her age.
Who were Minnie Pwerle’s familiy?
Minnie had five sisters, Margie, Molly, Emily, Lois, and Galya, one brother Louis and another brother who died before her. She had seven children including Eileen, Betty, June, Dora, Raymond, and Barbara Weir. Both Betty and Dora are fine painters and Barbara is a well-known Aboriginal artist. Barbara’s father was station owner Jack Weir, to whom Minnie became pregnant during her teens. Minnie later married an Aboriginal man, Motorcar Jim, the father of her remaining children.
What is Minnie Pwerle’s art style?
Minnie’s works are created in a linear style sometimes loose and free flowing or tight and clustered or a combination of both. Either way, Minnie’s ability to capture her long love of the land is always true. “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.
What Dreaming stories did Minnie Pwerle paint?
The artist’s main Dreamings are Awelye-Atnwengerrp (Women’s Dreaming), Bush Melon, and Bush Melon Seed. These convey her love and respect for the land and the food it provides to the people. Minnie and the other women used to collect this fruit (green in colour ripeningn to a brown colour) and scrape out the small black seeds. They would then eat the fruit immediately or cut it into small pieces, which were skewered and dried ready to be eaten in the coming months when bush tucker was scarce. While Bush Melon is depicted using a linear design of curves, circles, and breast designs of different colours with a very loose and bold design, 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.
How is Minnie Pwerle regarded in the art world?
Minnie exhibited her works extensively throughout Australia and the world with great success. She is regarded as one of Utopia’s foremost artists and her paintings continue to be in demand with both galleries and the private sector. In the December 2003 edition of Australian Art Collector, Minnie was nominated as one of the 50 most collectable Australian artists and her gestural brushwork has been compared with Tony Tuckson and Ian Fairweather. Minnie was a finalist at the 2004 Telstra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards in Darwin. A keen eye can appreciate the subtle changes inherent in Minnie’s work throughout her short, but meteoric career. Considering her ability to delight and her prominence in the global art world, Minnie Pwerle had few solo exhibitions. Her first was in 2000 in Melbourne and again in September 2002 in Sydney.
Aboriginal Art Status
Highly collectable artist
2000 Minnie Pwerle, Sydney NSW
2000 Minnie Pwerle, Melbourne VIC
2000 Minnie Pwerle, Alice Springs NT
2000 An exhibition of Utopia artists, Dacou Gallery in association with AMP, AMP Building, Sydney NSW
2001 Out of Utopia, Exhibited with Barbara Weir, Canberra ACT
2001 Group Exhibition, San Anselmo, Marin County California, USA
2001 Minnie Pwerle, Mary Pantjiti McLean – Tumaru Purlykumunu, Small Stories, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2001 Desert Colour – My Country, combined exhibition, Raintree Aboriginal Art Gallery Darwin NT.
2001 Painting Country, combined exhibition, Tandanya, Adelaide.
2001 Combined exhibition, Santa Fey, New Mexico USA.
2001 Women Artists of the Australian Desert, combined exhibition, Auckland, New Zealand
2002 United – Mother and Daughter, Alison Kelly Gallery VIC
2002 New York City, UTSA
2003 Minnie Pwerle, Original & Authentic Aboriginal Art, Melbourne VIC
2003 Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2003 Art and Soul Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee USA
2003 Portland, Oregon, Portland Art Museum, USA
2003 Light Over Utopia, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2004 Diva’s of the Desert, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NT
2004 Minnie Pwerle & Mitjili Napurrula, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2005 Utopia Revealed, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2006 Colour of Utopia, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2006 Towards Black and White, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2006 Grandmother and Granddaughter – Minnie Pwerle and Teresa Purla, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2008 Utopia Collection, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2010 Summer Collection, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2010 Desert Song, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2017 Yam Dreaming, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
2018 Utopia Exhibition of 4 Generations, One Rundle Trading Co., Adelaide
2018 Earth’s Creation 2: Emily Kame Kngwarreye & Family, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2018 Delmore Gallery: Utopia Women, Merricks Art Gallery, Merricks
2019 International Women’s Day, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 Large Showroom; Large Works, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane
2019 Desert Colours: Central Australian painting from the Collection, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
2019 Defining Tradition | the colourists, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 Matches 6 – Group Exhibition – Featuring Barbara Weir, Ian Bettinson, Jack Britten, Lilly
Kelly Napangardi, Minnie Pwerle, Tony Tuckson & Yvonne Mills-Stanley, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane
2020 Still in the Desert, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane
2021 We Choose to Challenge, Coo-ee Fine Art Gallery, Sydney
2021 Desert Colours 2021, Incinerator Art Space, Sydney
2021 Body Line, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, CA, USA
Kreglinger Collection, Antwerp, Belgium
Thomas Vroom Collection, The Netherlands
Hank Ebes Collection, Melbourne
AMP Art Collection, Sydney
Fred Torres Collection, Sydney
Pat Corrigan Art Collection
John McBride Collection
La Trobe University Collection, Sydney
Gillian & Watson McAllister Collection, Sydney
Mbantua Collection, Alice Springs
The Luzco Family Collection, USA
Fondation Burkhardt-Felder Arts et Culture, Motiers, Switzerland
Awards and Recognition
2021 Minnie’s artworks feature again in the reenactment of ‘Badu Gili’, a nightly year-round sunset projection onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House
2017 Minnie’s artworks feature in ‘Badu Gili’, a nightly year-round sunset projection onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House
2008 Atnwengerrp: Land of Dreaming, Minnie Pwerle carpet launch, Designer Rugs Showroom, Sydney
2005 22nd NATSIAA, Darwin – Finalist
2004 Top 50 Collectable Artists, Australian Art Collector Magazine
2002 19th NATSIAA, Darwin – Selected Entrant
2001 18th NATSIAA, Darwin – Finalist
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2021 Remembering Minnie | 15 years on, Artmob, Hobart
2015 Minnie, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2010 Body Lines, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane
2008 Minnie Pwerle – Body Paint, DACOU, Melbourne
2006 Memorial Exhibition, Gallery Savah, Sydney
2003 Art & Soul Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
2002 Recent Paintings, Gallery Savah, Sydney
2002 Minnies Country, DACOU Gallery, Adelaide
2002 Awelye Atnwengerrp, DACOU Gallery, Adelaide
Paintings by other Utopia artists: