Minnie Pwerle Australian Aboriginal, c. 1915-2006


Minnie Pwerle was born around 1915 in the Utopia region. It was not until 1999 at approximately 80+ years of age, that Minnie Pwerle began painting on canvas.


Her first series of works painted at the Utopia Communities workshops were linear paintings, expressing a bold, free-flowing, enigmatic style that quickly drew the interest of critics and art lovers alike.


Minnie’s career as an artist began through Aboriginal ceremony and ritual. Her craft instigated by her appointment as a body painter during Women’s ceremonies. Body paint designs are worn to represent Dreamings and various symbols specific to particular rituals. Usually the upper body is covered in animal fat and intricate designs painted on the chest, back and arms with paints made from ochre’s.


Minnie’s works have drawn comparisons to Emily Kngwarreye’s "Wild Yam Stories" painted in the mid 1990’s. Minnie passed away in 2006.