Minnie Pwerle

To be Auctioned on July 25th 12 Noon

Tribe: Anmatjerre
Area: Central & Western Desert
Born: c. 1910 – March 2006

Minnie was born at McDonnell Down Station in the Northern Territory. She then moved to Utopia with her family of three daughters and one son.

Minnie started painting in 1999. Since then her works have been in high demand and have found their way into prominent auction houses of Sydney and Melbourne. Minnie often travelled to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney for exhibitions of her art, which were always well received.

One of Minnie’s pieces was entered into the 18th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Telstra Award in 2001. To be selected for the Telstra Award is an enormous recognition of her work.

The Dreamings which Minnie paints are Body Painting (Awelyewe – Atnwengerrp), Bush Melon, and the Bush Melon Seed. Once very abundant and fruiting in the summer season, the bush melon is now very hard to find. Minnie and the other women used to collect this fruit (that was green in colour and then ripened to a brown colour) and scrape out the small black seeds. They would then eat the fruit straight away or cut it into pieces and skewer them onto a piece of wood and dry them to be eaten in the coming months when bush tucker was scarce.

Her distinctive style uses linear brush-work based on the Body Painting used for important women’s ceremonies in her native country of Atnwengerrp. She paints with a rich array of colours and her work contains a compelling visual and spiritual power. All the stories that she paints convey her deep connection with the land, and knowledge of the foods that it provides.


2000 – “Minnie Pwerle” Sydney
“Minnie Pwerle” Melbourne
“Minnie Pwerle” Alice Springs
September 2000 – DACOU in association with AMP hosted an exhibition of various Utopia artists in the AMP building, Sydney.
February 2001 – ‘Out of Utopia’ Canberra. Exhibited with Barbara Weir.
Included in group exhibition in San Anselmo, Marin County California, USA.
April 2001- ‘Minnie Pwerle, Mary Pantjiti McLean- Tumaru Purlykumunu, Small Stories’ Perth WA.
May 2001 – ‘Desert Colour – My Country’, combined exhibition, Darwin NT.
‘Painting Country’, combined exhibition, Tandanya, Adelaide.
June 2001 – Combined exhibition, Santa Fe, New Mexico USA.
July 2001 – ‘Women Artists of the Australian Desert’, combined exhibition, Auckland, New Zealand.
February 2003- “Minnie Pwerle” Original & Authentic Aboriginal Art, Melbourne
August 2003 – Alice Springs.


The Australian National Gallery, Canberra
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
The Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
The Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
The Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
The LaTrobe University Collection, Melbourne, Australia
The Kelton Foundation, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
The Kreglinger Collection, Antwerp, Belgium
The Thomas Vroom Collection, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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