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12 facts about Minnie Pwerle

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By Gwylym Owen

Minnie Pwerle (also Minnie Purla or Minnie Motorcar Apwerl; born in the middle of 1910 and 1922 – 18 March 2006) was an Australian Aboriginal artist. She came from Utopia, Northern Territory (Unupurna in local language), a cattle station in the Sandover Place of Central Australia 300 kilometres (190 mi) northeast of Alice Springs.

Minnie began painting in 2000 at approximately the age of 80, and her pictures soon became popular and sought-after works of contemporary Indigenous Australian art. In the years after she took going on painting upon canvas until she died in 2006, Minnie’s works were exhibited just about Australia and collected by major galleries, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Queensland Art Gallery. With popularity came pressure from those keen to Get her work. She was allegedly “kidnapped” by people who wanted her to paint for them, and there have been media reports of her work being forged. Minnie’s play-act is often compared bearing in mind that of her sister-in-law Emily Kame Kngwarreye, who after that came from the Sandover and took in the works acrylic painting late in life. Minnie’s daughter, Barbara Weir, is a respected performer in her own right.

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