Galya Pwerle“’s country is Atnwengerrp and her language is Anmatyerre and Alyawarr. She is in her early 80’s (no records exist) and has had little exposure to western culture. In fact, Galya picked up a paintbrush for the first time in 2004. The youngest of the Pwerle Sisters, most of Galya“’s family are all artists including her oldest sister, the late Minnie Pwerle, her niece Barbara Weir, plus her extended family Aileen and Betty Mpetyane. All encouraged Galya and her older sisters Molly and Emily, to paint with their famed sister Minnie in 2004. Minnie took a close and supportive role in the development of her younger sisters. The sisters had an instant response to applying paint onto canvas and developing expressions of their dreamings that have been passed down from generation to generation. The passing on of these symbols and patterns ensures the survival of these peoples“’ culture.
Pwerle paints “˜Awelye Atnwengerrp“’ which means women’s ceremony, celebrating Bush Tucker which in Galya’s case, is Bush Melon or Bush Tomato and its Seed. “˜Bush Melon Seed“’ is depicted by small curved brushstrokes while the “˜Bush Melon“’ works consists of blunt paintbrush dabs that are layered across a body paint design background. The patterns represent the designs painted on women’s bodies during bush tucker ceremonies, in Atnwengerrp. Both styles use various colours to form abstract pieces of great beauty. During these ceremonies the women dance, and sing, paying homage to their ancestors, the land and the food it provides.
In 2005 and 2008 her work was nominated in the prestigious Telstra Awards held at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.