Emily Pwerle

Emily Pwerle’s country is Atnwengerrp and her language is Anmatyerre and Alyawarre. She is approximately in her late 80s having been born possibly in 1922 (no records exist). Emily lives in Irrultja, a tiny settlement in Utopia of about 100 people. She has had little exposure to western culture and only picked up a paintbrush for the first time in 2004.

Many members of Emily’s extended family are artists: Barbara Weir, Aileen and Betty Mpetyane, and her older sister, the late Minnie Pwerle. Emily was encouraged by all to paint along with her sisters Galya and Molly Pwerle. It wasn’t until late 2004 that Barbara Weir, Minnie Pwerle’s daughter, organised the first workshop for the sisters which was held at Irrultja station. This inaugural workshop heralded the start of an amazing painting experience. Just as Minnie showed the glorious freedom of expression, Emily, Molly and Galya followed suit. Another workshop was quickly arranged and so it continues.

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, developing expressions of their Dreamings that have been passed down from generation to generation. Emily paints “Awelye Atnwengerrp”, meaning women’s ceremony in her country. “Awelye- Atnwengerrp” is depicted by a series of lines and symbols, often criss-crossed patterns that are layered across the canvas creating an explosive & vibrant mass of colour. The patterns represent the designs painted on women’s bodies during bush tucker ceremonies in Atnwengerrp. Emily has developed her own contemporary style and is proving to be a prolific, energetic and talented artist, akin to her late sister Minnie Pwerle.


2005    Permanent exhibition and
collection, DACOU Australia, Rosewater, SA.

2005    Group exhibition, Mbantua
Gallery, Alice Springs, NT.

2006    Group Exhibition, ‘The Pwerle
Sisters,’ Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.

2006    Group exhibition, APS Bendi
Lango Art Exhibition, Rio Tinto Offices, Melbourne, VIC.

06/07   Group exhibition, Fireworks
Gallery, Brisbane, QLD.

2007    ‘Utopia in New York’ Robert
Steele Gallery, New York. USA.

2007    Group Exhibition, Australian
Embassy, Washington, USA.

2007    “New Works from Utopia”,
Space Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

2008    “Utopia Collection”, Japinka
Gallery, Perth, WA

2008    “Utopia Discoveries”, Flinders
Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.

2008    Group travelling exhibition to
major cities in Australia, “EWB
Elements”, presented by Dreamtime Art in conjunction with DACOU.

2009    “Utopia, Color’s of the Desert”,
Gongpyeong Art Space in
conjunction with DACOU, Australian Embassy in Korea & Crossbay Gallery, Seoul, Korea.

2009    Utopia group exhibition,
DACOU Broome, Broome, WA.

2009    Group Exhibition, Gallery Savah,
Sydney, NSW.

2009    “Body Markings”, solo
exhibition, DACOU Gallery Melbourne, Middle Park, VIC .

2010    Solo Exhibition, Gallery Savah,
Sydney, NSW.
2010    “The Pwerle Sisters” Group
Exhibition DACOU Australia,
Melbourne VIC.

See below some of her beautiful pieces for sale: