In this painting Minnie Pwerle depicts the traditional Body Painting used during women’s ceremony. The people of Utopia used body paint designs for corroborees or ceremonies, celebrating/depicting all aspects of traditional lore. Each clan has its own totem or Dreaming story and the body paint designs are usually the same for each depiction. Minnie Pwerle’s paintings usually depict the body painting designs associated with the ceremonies of the bush melon, which is a very important totem for Minnie.
The designs depicted in this painting were painted on the arms and breasts of the woman partaking in the ceremonies. Long ago, the paint was made up from earth colored ochre and resin, charcoal and white ashes from the campfire were also used. In the paintings acrylic paint has replaced these natural pigments and the designs have become more colorful, still retaining the same basic shapes
Utopia Station, Northern Territory
Minnie was born around 1910 near the cattle station of Utopia in Northern Territory. She belongs to the Anmatyerre and Alyawarr language groups. She is the mother of acclaimed artist Barbara Weir. Like many other Utopia women artists, Minnie participated in the batik project which was introduced to the community in 1977. Although painting started in the late 1980s in her community, Minn . . .