Meet the Artist

Minnie Pwerle

Minnie Pwerle



c1920 - 2006

Skin name





Utopia - NT

Minnie was born around 1910 near the cattle station of Utopia in Northern Territory.

She belongs to the Anmatyerre and Alyawarr language groups. She is the mother of acclaimed artist Barbara Weir. Like many other Utopia women artists, Minnie participated in the batik project which was introduced to the community in 1977. Although painting started in the late 1980s in her community, Minnie started to paint on canvas only in 1999, while in her late eighties and after many years of ceremonial body painting. Together with her good friend Emily Kame Kngwarreye Minnie revolutionized Aboriginal Art by painting in a radically different manner than their fellow artists from the Western Desert. Minnie’s style was spontaneous, free, and embraced bold and vibrant colours. Her paintings include two main design themes. The first consists of free-flowing and parallel lines in a pendulous outline, depicting the designs used in women’s ceremonies, or Awelye. The second are circular shapes, used to represent bush tomato, bush melon, and wild desert orange. Her spiritual connection to the land is unmistakable in all her paintings. Minnie continued to paint until she died in March 2006.

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Finalist 18th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award

National Gallery of Victoria /Art Gallery of South Australia / La Trobe University Collection / AMP Collection / Art Gallery of NSW / Hank Ebes Collection / Kelton Foundation / Kreglinger Collection / Mbantua Collection
Queensland Art Gallery / Thomas Vroom Collection

2002: Mixed Utopia exhibition at Knut Grothe Galeri, Charlottlenlund,Copenhagen.
2002: Solo exhibition, ” Recent Paintings”, Gallery Savah, Sydney, NSW.
2002: ‘Paintings From Utopia”- combined exhibition at “Framed- The Darwin Gallery”, Darwin, NT
2002 : Mixed Utopia exhibition at Galerie a Le Temps Du Reve, France.
2002: ‘Contemporary Aboriginal Art From The Utopia Region”- combined Exhibition at BMGART, Adelaide, SA.
2002: ‘Minnie’s Country’ Dacou Gallery, Adelaide, SA.
2002: ‘Generations Utopia’- combined exhibition, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, Perth WA.
2002: Selected entrant in the 2002, 19th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award.
2002: ‘A Collectable Aboriginal Art Event”- combined exhibition at Raintree Gallery, Darwin, NT.
2002: ‘BIG COUNTRY small worlds’- solo exhibition at Fire-works Gallery Qld
2002: ‘The Utopia Six’, Flinders Lane Gallery, VIC.
2002: ‘Awelye Atnwengerrp’ Solo Exhibition at Dacou Gallery, Adelaide, SA.
2002: Heart and Soul Gallery in conjunction with Mbantua Gallery, Nashville, TN, USA.
2002: Urban Wineworks with Mbantua Gallery, Portland, Oregon, USA.
2002: Mbantua Gallery � ‘In the Cove’, Portland, Oregon, USA.
2002: Chapman Gallery Group Exhibition, ACT.
2002: Mixed Utopia Exhibition, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NT.
2002: Mixed Utopia Exhibition’, Gallery Savah, Sydney, NSW.
2003: ‘My Grandmother and Me’, World Vision, Walkabout Gallery, Sydney, NSW.
2003: ‘Minnie Pwerle & Mitjili Napurrula’, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle. WA.
2003: Group Exhibition, Art & Soul Gallery in conjunction with Mbantua Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
2003: Contemporary Aboriginal Art Event, Mbantua Gallery, Umpqua Bank, Oregon USA
2003: Solo Exhibition, “Sydney Art Fair”, Gallery Savah, Sydney, NSW.
2003: ‘Art from the Dreamtime”, Portland Art Museum in conjunction with Mbantua Gallery. Oregon, USA.
2004: ‘Diva’s of the Desert’, Gallery Gonwana, Alice Springs, NT.
2005: “Utopia Revealed’, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA.
2005: Annual Group Exhibition ‘Shalom’, University of NSW, Shalom Department, Kensington, NSW.
2005: ‘Small Wonders’, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT.
2006: Solo Exhibition, “Memorial Exhibition”, Gallery Savah, Sydney. NSW.
2006: ‘The Pwerle Sisters,’ Group Exhibition, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.
2006: Group exhibition, APS Bendi Lango Art Exhibition, Rio Tinto Offices, Melbourne, VIC.
2007: ‘Standing on Ceremony’, Tandanya Cultural Institute, Adelaide, SA.
2007: ‘Utopia in New York’ Robert Steele Gallery, New York. USA.
2007: Group Exhibition, Australian Embassy, Washington, USA.
2007: Group exhibition, “Desert Diversity”, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.
2007: ‘Treasures of the Spirit’, Tandanya Cultural Institute, Adelaide, SA.
2007: Group exhibition, APS Bendi Lango Art Exhibition with Rio Tinto, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane, QLD.
2007: “New Works from Utopia”, Space Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
2008: “Utopia Revisited”, NG Art Gallery, Chippendale, NSW.
2008: Colours of Utopia, Gallery Savah, Sydney NSW
2008: “Atnwengerrp: Land of Dreaming”, Minnie Pwerle carpet launch, Designer Rugs Showroom, Edgecliffe, NSW.
2008: “Emily and Her Legacy”, Hillside Gallery in Tokyo, with Coo-ee Art Sydney in conjunction with the landmark retrospective exhibition ‘Utopia – the Genius of Emily Kngwarreye’ at the National Art Centre, Tokyo Japan.
2009: Size Matters, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2010: “Body Lines” Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane QLD.
2010: “The Australian Indigenous Art Market Top 100 Exhibition” Coo-ee Aboriginal Art Gallery, Bondi NSW.
2010: “Minnie Pwerle and Emily Kame Kngwarreye”, Kate Owen Gallery, Rozelle, NSW.

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