Friday, May 07, 2010
The above image is by Aboriginal artist Barbara Weir. Barbara is one of the world famous "Utopia" artists from the Utopia region north East of Alice Springs. Her paintings are inspired by a small native grass called "munyeroo".
These paintings are by Barbara's mother Minnie Pwerle who died in 2006. Barbara and her mother were sadly separated when Barbara was 9 and took many years to find each other and become reconciled. (This is a very common story of Aboriginal children who were separated from their families and sent to orphanages or to work as indentured labourers for white people, in a systematic government sponsored kidnapping from 1869 -1969. These children are known as the "Stolen Generation") Barbara encouraged Minnie to paint and her beautiful paintings reflect some of the oldest designs in the world based on body painting used in women's ceremonies.
I love Barbara Weir's paintings for the rhythm they capture and the rippling effect of the grass that seems to spread beyond the canvas. Minnnie Pwerle's paintings are so joyful, the exuberant use of colour and repetition of shape deny that fact that Pwerle would have been in her late 70's or 80's when she painted these works. Both these women are an inspiration as artists and as people who have overcome terrible injustice and sadness in their lives.
Posted by Shannon Garson at 1:15 PM