Teresa Purla (born 1963) is part of a very famous painting family. Her mother is the locally and internationally known Aboriginal artist Barbara Weir and her grandmother is equally known and loved late Minnie Pwerle. Her paintings have been exhibited in major cities in Australia as well as in Paris and Copenhagen.

Teresa was born in Darwin on 5th August 1963. Her skin name is Pwerle. She is an Anmatyerrre/Alyawarre speaker and her country is Atnwengerrp.

She is part of a very famous painting family. She exemplifies the way streams of great painters have been produced at Utopia. Teresa is the daughter of Barbara Weir and granddaughter of the late Minnie Pwerle. She grew up in Darwin and Alice Springs and for a time lived at Papunya. Her high school years were spent in Adelaide where she attended a Brigidine Catholic Girls’ school, Kildare College.

As a young child, Teresa had watched her mother and Aunty Emily (Kngwarreye) painting. In 1990, under the tutelage of her mother and her “Nannas”, (Minnie’s sisters, Molly, Emily and Galya, Teresa began to paint and at the same time learning about her culture and the Dreamings of her people. She learned the Anmatyerrre language of her people and how to transmit and communicate her culture through paint. To do this effectively she has developed her own unique style, with her paintings often being comprised of a myriad of all-over dots. Teresa sometimes incorporates dancing tracks, represented by small white dots, into her paintings, saying that they were made many years ago by her ‘Nannas’, as they danced during Awely’.

Just as Barbara Weir paints “My Mother’s County” so Teresa paints “My Grandmother’s Country” (Atnwengerrp). This is typical of the way Aboriginal mythology and law has been handed down from generation to generation for millennia. Teresa learned the ceremonies and stories from her Grandmother.

Teresa has four children. She currently lives at Atnwengerrp in the Utopia area, about 20kms from Irrultja where her aunts, Galya, Molly and Emily Pwerle, live.

Teresa’s paintings have been exhibited in major cities in Australia and in Paris and Copenhagen.”


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