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Minnie Pwerle - Artist (1922 - 2006)

Aboriginal Artist Minnie Pwerle

About The Artist

Born circa 1922, the legendary Aboriginal artist, Minnie Pwerle, only started painting several decades later in 2000. Her work soon became very popular Indigenous Australian art. Minnie painted on canvas until she died in 2006, becoming a highly sought-after artist.

Minnie’s inspiration for her art came from Aboriginal cultural rituals. Her art may represent one of the oldest forms of art – ‘Awelye’. Awelye involves designs painted onto the female body for traditional Aboriginal women’s ceremonies. Minnie’s paintings appeal to collectors as they embody an amalgamation of both traditional and modern qualities. This is an impressive quality to achieve, as she never visited a contemporary art gallery or museum.

Minnie first exhibited at the ‘Flinders Lane Gallery’, Melbourne in 2000. Selected to show at the ‘National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Award’ in following years, Minnie achieved record prices, being named as one of Australia’s ‘Fifty Most Collectable Artists’ in 2004. Her solo exhibitions include; ‘BIG COUNTRY, Small Worlds’, ‘Fireworks Gallery’, Queensland (2002); ‘Awelye Atnwengerrp’, ‘Dacou Gallery’, Adelaide (2002); and ‘Minnie Pwerl’, shown at ‘Mbantua Gallery’, Alice Springs (2003, 2004 & 2006), ‘Flinders Lane Gallery’, Melbourne (2004), and the ‘Memorial Exhibition at Gallery Savah’, Sydney (2006).

Minnie’s work was also displayed internationally in group exhibitions in the USA and France during her lifetime. Minnie Pwerle has been included in major private and public art collections such as; the ‘AMP Collection’, Melbourne, ‘Artbank’, Sydney, ‘Art Gallery of South Australia’, Adelaide, ‘Art Gallery of NSW’, Sydney, ‘Art Gallery of Western Australia’, Perth, ‘Australian Heritage Commission’, Canberra, ‘Hank Ebes Collection’, Melbourne, ‘Kelton Foundation’, Santa Monica, ‘Kreglinger Collection’, Melbourne, ‘Mbantua Gallery’ (Permanent Collection), Alice Springs, ‘Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory’, Darwin, ‘National Gallery of Australia’, Canberra, ‘National Gallery of Victoria’, Melbourne, ‘Queensland Art Gallery’, Brisbane and the ‘Thomas Vroom Collection’, Amsterdam.

Awelye - Body Painting by Minnie Pwerle


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