Aboriginal Art Sale from the Central Australian Desert  View more
Minnie Pwerle was born around 1910 in the Utopia region. As one of 6 six children she enjoyed a colourful childhood, later becoming the mother of 7 children of her own; Minnie was always a well-loved member of a large family. Her country is known as Atnwengerrp and her languages Anmatyerre and Alyawarr. 
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.
 It was not until 1999 at approximately 80 + years of age, that Minnie 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. The artists primary Dreamings include “AwelyeAtnwengerrp” (Women’s Dreaming), “Bush Melon”, and “Bush Melon Seed”. 
The Bush Melon itself once bountiful in supply has slowly diminished over time. The fruit could be eaten immediately or dried and stored for later use. A plant specific to the Atnwengerrp region, Minnie’s Dreamings tell the story of a treasured delicacy that sustained her people for long periods of time. Linear designs of circles, curves and breast designs depict the “Bush Melon”, while “Bush Melon Seed” is represented by large and small patches of colour strewn across the canvas. Lines of various width and colour represent the body paint designs worn by the women during ceremony or “Women’s Dreaming”.
Minnie’s more recent works have drawn comparisons to Emily Knwarreye’s “Wild Yam Stories” painted in the mid 1990’s. Eclectic in nature, her work seems to combine modernism, contemporary theory, impressionism and Aboriginality while also expressing a story of her own sacred Dreamings. Her combination of historical visual styles and spiritual content promote a sense of unity amongst two vary different spheres of influence. 
In 2003 the reputable Australian Art Collector listed Minnie as one of Australia’s Top 50 most Collectable Artists. She is regarded as one of Utopia’s foremost artists with her paintings in continual demand from both galleries and the private sector. 
Minnie has exhibited her works extensively throughout Australia and the world with great success. Exhibitions include, 2000 AMP Building, Sydney; 2001 San Anselmo Gallery, Marin Country, California; 2001 Dreamtime Gallery, Santa Fe, USA; 2002 Gallery New York City, USA; 2002 Knut Grothe Galeri, Charlottenlund, Copenhagen, Denmark; 2002 Heart and Soul Gallery, Nashville, USA; 2002 Urban Wineworks Gallery, Portland, USA; 2003 Glen Eira City Council Gallery, Melbourne. 
Minnie’s paintings are held in the AMP Collection and the Hank Ebes Collection , Melbourne. 
As the mother of Barbara Weir, also a well know Aboriginal artist, it is clear that Minnie has successfully past on her talent. Her contributions to the Aboriginal art movement have been invaluable, as a respected elder of her community her work offers insight in to the spiritual world of the Australian Aborigine, whilst providing visual art lovers with a striking, and highly unique collection of works to enjoy. 
Minnie passed away in March, 2006, aged in her 90’s of old age. Her funeral was attended by many Aboriginal and wider community Leaders, as a mark of respect for one of Aboriginal Arts more colourful characters. She leaves behind a rich catalogue of recent works that will continue to entertain and enrich the lives of those lucky enough to possess them for years to come. She will be sadly missed by the Aboriginal Art Industry and the community at large.