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Minnie Pwerle

Awelye Atnwengerrp - c.2006

synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen
123.0 x 270.0 cm
EST. $25,000 - $35,000

LOT #36


Purchased direct from the artist's daughter Barbara Weir, NT
Boomerang Art, Qld Cat No. 4074
Private Collection, Qld


accompanied by a Boomerang Art certificate of authenticity and an image of Barbara Weir with the artwork

Minnie Pwerle began painting depictions of her country, Atnwengerrp, and its Dreamings when in her late 70s. There are many parallels in the careers of Minnie Pwerle and that of her countrywoman the great Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Both began painting late in life and both created work for a period of seven years. Both painted the majority of their works equally gesturally and produced a prodigious output. Both artists painted works that were immediately popular, most especially amongst women, and were able to support a number of close relatives with the income they generated.


Indeed the comparison between the two women, who were sisters-in-law, extended to their fundamental feelings of reverence, abandon and intuition. The manner in which they created their works appeared to be the result of an urgency to reconnect to the past and to keep the Dreaming a living reality. Just like Emily Kngwarreye before her, in painting after painting Minnie boldly and self-assuredly depicted the body designs painted onto women’s breasts and limbs for the regular ceremonial revivification of her country. While the rambling tuberous roots of the Yam or Bush Potato were Emily’s Dreamings and the subject of her art, Minnie’s primary focus was the Bush Melon and its seeds. Her Awelye-Antnwengerrp paintings drew directly from these ceremonial practices, depicting bush melon, seed, and breast designs in powerful multi-coloured brushstrokes that built into a structured patchwork of luminous colour most often emanating from within a darker under-layer. The energy of these vibrant colourful works seemed to capture the joy of coming across these sweet bush foods, now scarce and difficult to find.

Minnie passed away in 2006, her life an extraordinary journey mapping the transition from that of a nomad, through the early years of the pastoral industry, to a new era of Aboriginal control, and a flourishing art movement at Utopia. It has only been possibl