Awelye - Women' Ceremony
Acrylic on Linen
160 x 200 cm
Cat.No: 1705.1

The title of this painting is Body Paint. Abie Loy paints this story in her own creative way and in line with Aboriginal ancient tradition which carries deep spiritual significance for her People. It is related to spiritual matters and the specific designs and motifs used may reveal her relationships to family groups, social position, tribe, ancestors, totemic fauna and other aspects of traditional life.

There are very strict guidelines to how the body painting is carried out and an Aboriginal person is not allowed to just use any motives. They must follow traditional, respected patterns. 


Abie is a third generation Utopia painter who comes from an outstanding painting family. Her Grandmother is the celebrated Kathleen Petyarre, an artist who began back in  the days of batik and remains amongst the greats of the painting movement. She has been responsible for guiding Abie’s career and, in turn, Abie has learned a great deal about her indigenous traditions and modern painting techniques. Kathleen’s painting sisters including Violet, Gloria and Ada Bird Petyarre, have also been influential while all of them drew inspiration from another family member, Emily Kame Kngwarreye. It might be seen that Abie has been in the perfect position to develop as a unique Utopia painter, encouraged and assisted on all sides.

Abie tells

"When I was a little girl I would watch my grandmother Kathleen Petyarre and all the other mob doing the silk, making the silk. I began learning doing silk with Kathleen. Kathleen was also a schoolteacher at our school, Utopia School...When I was a very young child my grandmother told me she wanted me to be [an] artist - I love painting and so I thought it over and decided to be an artist then. Ever since those days of watching closely those ladies doing silk I wanted to be an artist too...When my grandmother Kathleen turned to painting [in the 1980s], I watched that closely too, and ever since, I've always been an artist."