Awelye - Women's Ceremony
Acrylic on Linen 90 x 120 cm, painted 2008
The youngest of the four Minnie Pwerle sisters is Galya who was born c 1925/30. Her language, country and dreamings are all the same as her sisters.
Galya's work is distinctive and individual. Her initial paintings from c 2004 were based on a grass that was plentiful in the Utopia area; Portulaca Oleracea, (referred to as, ‘munyeroo’) which had provided a vital food source for many generations. The grass produces a tiny black seed and Galya adopted its half-circle shape as the dominant motif of her painting.
Cattle grazing, over a fifty-year period, reduced the prolific nature of this grass. Consequently Galya is recalling, in her paintings, the time when its seeds were a significant part of the diet of her clan. As such, important dreaming stories developed around this grass and its seed. The seed may seem insignificant to western notions but for the women of Utopia it holds a place of importance.
In her more recent paintings she has developed a way of working which sees her lay down a basis of traditional Awelye, women’s body painting, which is then covered, and partly obscured by expressive, coloured dotting. This creates a ‘look through’ effect that is enigmatic but redolent of country and desert colour.
Like her sisters, Galya's work has been widely exhibited throughout Australia and in international Galleries and is highly sought after.
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