Minnie Pwerle's contribution to Australian Aboriginal Art began in her late life lasting from 1999 to her passing in 2006. Whilst her period of painting was somewhat short, the work produced was unique and rich, seeing her named as one of Australia's top 50 most collectible artists in 2004.
Born around 1910 – 1920 Minnie Pwerle one of eight children grew up in the Utopia Region of the Northern Territory around 250 Kms North of Alice Springs. Minnie 's upbringing was traditional with art an ingrained part of her society. The 1970's batik making and its transition onto canvas in the 1980's was a strong feature of her Utopia region.
As a teenager Minnie had a daughter, Barbara with Irish pastoral owner Jack Weir. Minnie and Barbara were separated when Barbara at the age of nine was taken by native welfare under the government policy of the time, assimilation. Thus Barbara became one of the stolen generation as it was known in years to come. Barbara and Minnie reunited in the late 1960's, Minnie had in previous years married Motor car Jim and had six children and was initially unable to accept Barbara into her life. Whilst communication were marred to begin with, over time Minnie accepted Barbara as her daughter. Barbara Weir became an esteemed artist in her own right and consequently in the late 1990's introduced Minnie to painting on canvas.
After a life spent painting ceremonial designs of the awelye onto the body, Minnie in 1999 transferred these designs onto canvas with great success. Evolving her style, Minnie began also paint her inherited dreaming, the 'Bush Melon'. Her choice of bold colours and the evident lucid freedom of her brush stroke inevitably attracted much attention to her art work. The bush melon paintings often consisted of linear circular movements or splashes of colour strewn across the canvas. What is often mesmerizing by Minnie's work is the spiritual connection with the land exuded on the canvas with touches of modern technique.
Minnie Pwerle is an artist of undeniable significance to the Aboriginal Art movement and indeed Australian Art.