Aboriginal artist Emily PwerleEmily Pwerle

Born: c. 1922
Skin Name: Pwerle (Purla)
Region: Utopia (Urapuntja)
Country: Atnwengerrp – Irrultja (Urultja) community
Language: Anmatyerrre/Alyawarre
Subjects and Themes (Dreaming): Women’s Dreaming (Awelye Atnwengerrp) Bush Tomato (Anemangkerr) Wild Desert Orange (Atwakey) Munyeroo Seeds (Ntang Iylaw)

Emily Pwerle, together with Galya and Molly is the sister of the famous Minnie Pwerle. All four originating from a remote desert area of Central Australia, all painters of traditional ‘dreamings’ that connect them to their country, all of considerable age and experience and all living through an era of ‘first contact’ with Europeans. During 2004 they were encouraged to take up painting with non-traditional materials.

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Emily, one of eight children and younger sister of Minnie Pwerle, was born on Utopia station, a region of the Northern Territory, about 300 km’s north east of Alice Springs in Central Australia. She started painting in 2004. At that time Minnie’s daughter, the well-known artist Barbara Weir, organized a number of workshops where three of her aunts – sisters Molly, Galya and Emily, as well as her mother Minnie – worked collaboratively and individually to produce a series of paintings based on ceremonies and their Dreaming stories.

Like her sisters, Emily’s main title is Awelye Atnwengerrp and whilst the sisters share the same Dreaming, each one has developed a different and unique, contemporary style and interpretation of their common Dreaming.

Awelye Atnwengerrp or Women’s Ceremony is represented by designs based on dancing tracks which can only be painted by the Pwerle or Kemarre owners. They are painted on the women’s bodies before ceremonies are performed.

Today, Emily still lives with her sisters at Irrultja (Urultja) a small community settlement at Utopia, 300kms north-east of Alice Springs. She lives a traditional life and is not interested to travel or make a career which is understandable given her age (born ca 1922).

Boomerang Art owns the best and most unique art this artist produced during her short career as an indigenous painter, including one of the largest paintings she ever produced.  It’s the most exciting and best piece I ever bought over the years and photos cannot do justice to it – in my subjective opinion.  Click on the image to enlarge

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Paintings by Emily Pwerle: