Artist : Minnie Pwerle ( Pula, Apwerle, Motorcar )
Year : circa. 1910 / 1920.
Group : ALYAWARRE
Country : ATNWENGERRP
Area : Alyawarre country, NE of Alice Springs, N.T.
Medium : Acrylic paint on Canvas / Linen
Subjects : Aweyle for Atwengerrp ( Womens ceremony for country ), Anemangkerr ( Small melon ), Lyaw ( Seed from a herb ), Akarley (Wild orange).
About the Artist :
Minnie was born in ALYAWARRE country, approximately 200km North – East of Alice Springs.
It is difficult to define exactly when she was born, leaving speculation as to whether she is in her 80’s or 90’s. She was one of 8 children, one brother now deceased and five sisters and one brother still living ~ Margie, Molly, Emily, Lois, Ally and Louie. Louie also being a highly regarded, well known artist. Minnie had seven children ( unfortunately two of which have passed away ), leaving Barbara Weir ( also a well respected artist ), Eileen, Betty, Raymond and Dora Mbitjana.
Minnie Pwerle’s main subject, the bush melon is a food source of which, she is the guardian of. Progressing through the requirements and initiations to earn the honour of being the guardian of a plant or an animal is a responsible position. Her paintings of the bush melon are not mere depictions of the fruit, they also depict the sacred messages and stories which are part of the ceremony involved with honouring the creation ancestors who made the fruit, asking also for the ancestors to continue blessing her people with the fruit to eat.
Minnie also paints the body paint designs used for the Women’s Ceremony ( Awelye ) and Lyaw ( seed from a herb ), and Akarley ( wild orange ).
Her bold, brightly coloured calligraphic style exhibits brisk and sure energy, an incredible achievement considering she is thought to be about 90 years old.
Her paintings are composed of loops, long trailing lines and “U” shapes ( depicting women’s breasts ), in bright and bold colours spread intermittently across the canvas’s, usually against a dark background which she usually leaves little of not doused in colour.
Minnie only began to put her dreaming’s on canvas in 1999, and yet her works in both size and number are truly remarkable.
Her prices are relatively low for such a senior and respected figure, because she is, in effect, a newly emerging artist.
An exceptional boost to her career occurred this year when she was named in Australian Art collector magazine as one of Australia’s 50 most collectable artists for 2004.
Sadly Minnie passed away in 2006
Group Exhibitions :
~ 2000 – Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, N.T
~ 2001 - Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, N.T
~ 2002 –“ Generations ”, Japingka Gallery, W.A
~ 2002 –“ The Utopia Six ”, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, Vic.
~ 2002 – Chapman Gallery, ACT
~ 2002 – “ United – Mother and Daughter ”, Alison Kelly Gallery, Vic