This exhibition featured major paintings by two of the most respected and most collectable of the senior desert artists, Minnie Pwerle and Mitjili Napurrula.
Minnie Pwerle was born circa 1910 near the remote community of Utopia which is 270 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs. Minnie s paintings are a joyful celebration of her country, Atnwengerrp and the associated women s Dreamings. Minnie s paintings reflect and are drawn directly from the ancient and traditional breast and body paintings marking the Bush Melon and Bush Melon Seed rituals and dances.
Mitjili Napurrula on the other hand, paints the stories and rituals associated with her late father’s country called Uwalki which lies in the Gibson Desert near the Kintore Ranges, west of Haasts Bluff. This country is characterised by red sandhills, bushes and trees including the beautiful desert oaks. Mitjili was taught her father’s Tjukurrpa by her mother, who drew images in the sand of Uwalki. Mitjili has said that “My mother taught me my father’s Tjukurrpa; that’s what I’m painting on the canvas.” Another of Mitjili s main themes is Watiya Tjuta (trees) which relates to men’s wooden implements and artifacts. The ‘Tjukurrpa’ or Dreaming of these works concerns making spears, an important aspect of men’s business; and the Straightening of Spears is a theme that was famously painted by her brother Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula.
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