Awelye by Minnie Pwerle


Awelye by Minnie Pwerle


Minnie Pwerle c.1910 - d.2006

Acrylic on canvas

122.5 x 90.5cm

©Minnie Pwerle

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The extraordinarily powerful and prolific artist, Minnie Pwerle was born circa 1910 in bush country some 350 kilometres north east of Alice Springs.  She was to become, along with her contemporary, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, one of Australia's greatest female artists. Her works are held in museums and have been shown in public and private exhibitions worldwide.  In 2004, Minnie was named by Australian Art Collector Magazine as one of Australia's 50 most collectable artists.

The source and inspiration for her art came from her involvement in traditional Aboriginal ceremonial practice and rituals where she was responsible for applying the all important body paint designs to participants in women's ceremonies.  Minnie Pwerle's Dreamings consist of elements of 'Bush Melon' and 'Bush Melon Seed'. 'Bush Melon' is depicted using linear design curves, circles and breast designs in different colours creating a very loose and bold design while 'Bush Melon Seed' is big and small patches of colour strewn across the canvas.

Both of these Dreamings tell the story of this lovely sweet food that comes from a very small bush found only in Atnwengerrp. 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 scraped 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. 


National Gallery of Victoria

Art Gallery of South Australia

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Queensland Art Gallery

La Trobe University Collection

AMP Collection

Hank Ebes Collection

Kelton Foundation

Kreglinger Collection

Thomas Vroom Collection