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Freddy Purla was born in 1968 in Darwin. He is the son of the talented Utopia artist Barbara Weir, grandson of the late Minnie Pwerle and the adopted nephew of the famous Emily Kame Kngwarreye (in Aboriginal Law). Freddy Purla began painting in 1989 at Alice Springs. His work has sold to many collections in Germany, Amsterdam, Paris, Switzerland and New York.
Purla regularly visited Utopia with his family as a very young child, often staying for long periods before travelling to Alice Springs or Adelaide. Today, he owns a house in his community of Irrultja and regularly returns to spend several weeks there at a time.
Freddy Purla has several painting styles, which he has experimented with over the years. Two styles in particular have become very popular; Sand Dunes and Scorpion Dreaming. Sand Dunes was nominated for the Telstra Awards in 2003 and represents the flow of the wind over the sands of Atnwengerrp (Utopia) and the Sandover River, creating the rippling effect of dunes.
Purla’s recent paintings are called Scorpion Dreaming. The Scorpion totem has been passed down to Freddy by his grandmother’s family. As its sting is often very painful, the scorpion is left undisturbed and respected at all times. It is rarely seen during the day and only the desert sands display the signs of the scorpion’s track.
Scorpion Dreaming consists of hundreds of straight lines layered across the canvas. These intersecting lines represent the courtship dance between the male and female scorpion. Each scorpion interlocks their pincers together while travelling back and forth in what appears to be a dance. After several hours, even up to twenty-four hours, the cross-crossed tracks left behind are a natural artwork of their own on the desert floor. Freddy’s Scorpion Dreaming powerfully represents the energy and vigour of the many movements made by the scorpions in their ritualistic desert dance.
In 2020, Freddy Purla has developed his latest style ‘My Grandmother’s Country’ with his core inspiration being the beautiful landscape of his Grandmother’s Country and all that the country has provided him.
2021 Top Ten Artists 2020, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2020 Pwerle Gallery x Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute ‘Atnwengerrp – Our Apmere, Our Place’ in celebration of Tandanya’s 30th year anniversary, Adelaide.
2020 Colours of Spring, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2018 Mercedes Me x Pwerle Gallery Art Exhibition at Mercedes Me Melbourne.
2018 Pwerle Gallery ‘Utopia exhibition of four generations’, Adelaide.
2010 Desert Masters. East Meets West: Papunya & Utopia Art, group exhibition, Gongyeong Art Space in conjunction with DACOU, Seoul, Korea.
2010 Lloyd Kwilla & Utopia Colour, group exhibition, McCulloch & McCulloch & Salt Contemporary Art, Queenscliff, VIC.
2010 Freddy Purla, Recent Works, solo exhibition, Gallery Savah, Sydney.
2010 A Summer Exhibition from The Lands, group exhibition, McCulloch’s Aboriginal Art and Flinders Village Café, Flinders, VIC.
2010 McCulloch’s Aboriginal Art – The Summer Show, group exhibition, Salt Contemporary Art, Queenscliff, VIC.
2010 Utopia, group exhibition, DACOU Gallery Melbourne, Middle Park, VIC.
2009 Group Exhibition, Gallery Savah, Sydney.
2009 Men’s Ceremony, group exhibition, DACOU Melbourne, Middle Park, VIC.
2008 Utopia, Colors of the Desert, Gongpyeong Art Space, in conjunction with Dacou, Australian Embassy in Korea & Crossbay Gallery, Seoul, Korea.
2008 Walking Together to Aid Aboriginal Health, Shalom Gamarada Aboriginal Art Exhibition, University of NSW, Kensington, NSW.
2008 Blue: A Group Exhibition, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane, QLD.
2008 EWB Elements Travelling Exhibition to major cities in Australia in conjunction with DACOU, Dreamtime Elements and Engineers Without Borders.
2008 Utopia Discoveries, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne.
2008 Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne.
2008 Gallery Mbantua, Alice Springs.
2007 Gallery Savah, Sydney.
2006 Gallery Savah, Sydney.
2005 Solander Gallery, Canberra.
2004 Utopia Dreams, Dacou Gallery, Adelaide.
2003 Telstra Award Nomination.
2003 Tandanya Institute, Adelaide.
2002 Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane.
2000 Major exhibition of Dacou artists, sponsored by AMP.
1999 Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney.
1998 Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney.