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Minnie Pwerle

Awelye Atnwengerrp - 2004

synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen
91.0 x 180.0 cm
Price Realised: $11,400.00

MP #764


Dacou Gallery, SA Cat. No. 05917
Cicada Trading, Qld

accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Dacou Gallery

The manner in which Minnie Pwerle created her works was the result of an urgency to reconnect to the past and keep the Dreaming a living reality. In painting after painting, she depicted the body designs applied to women’s breasts and limbs for the regular ceremonial revivification of her country.


The bold linear patterns of stripes and curves throughout this particular painting depict the women's ceremonial body paint design. They evoke the movement of the women as they dance during ceremony. After smearing their bodies with animal fat, they trace these designs onto their breasts, arms and thighs, singing as each woman takes her turn being ‘painted up’. Then, often by firelight, they dance in formation to ritual singing. The songs relate to the Dreamtime stories of ancestral travel, as well as plants, animals, and natural forces.


The songs they sing during preparation for ceremony (Awelye) relate to Dreamtime stories of ancestral travel as well as plants, animals and natural forces. In performing these ceremonies women demonstrate their respect for the land and ensure abundance, well-being and happiness within their community during the season ahead.