Minnie Pwerle was born in the Utopia region approximately 1919. Her country is Atnwengerrp and her language is Anmatyerre and Alyawarr.
Minnie was one of five sisters, Margie, Molly, Emily, Lois, and Ally and one brother called Louis (another brother is deceased).
Minnie had seven children including Eileen, Betty, June, Dora, Raymond, and Barbara Weir who is a well-known Aboriginal artist.
Minnies’ main Dreamings are “Awelye-Atnwengerrp”, “Bush Melon”, and “Bush Melon Seed”. These conveyed her love and respect for the land and the food it provides to the people.
“Awelye-Atnwengerrp” is depicted by a series of lines painted in different widths and colours. This pattern represents the lines painted on the top half of the women’s bodies during ceremonies in their country of Atnwengerrp.
“Women’s Ceremony” is depicted using a linear design of curves, circles, and breast designs in different colours creating a very loose and bold design, while “Bush Melon ” is big and small patches of colour strewn across the canvas. Both these Dreamings tell the story of this lovely sweet food that comes from a very small bush and is only found in Atnwengerrp. Once very abundant and fruiting in the summer season, the bush melon is very hard to find. Minnie and the other women used to collect this fruit (which was green in colour and ripened to a brown colour) and scrape out the small black seeds. They would then eat the fruit immediately or cut it into small pieces which were skewered and dried ready to be eaten in the coming months when bush tucker was scarce.
Minnie Pwerle passed away in March 2006, the year after she was listed in Australian Art Collector’s 50 Most Collectable Artists.