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Utopia artist Galya Pwerle’s country is Atnwengerrp and her languages are Anmatyerre and Alyawarre. She is thought to be in her late 90’s although no records of her birth exist, and she has had little exposure to western culture. Her Dreaming is for Bush Melon and its seeds and she also paints ‘Awelye Atnwengerrp’, which refers to the women’s awelye ceremonies that celebrate this bush tucker through dance and song.
Galya begins her stunning paintings on canvas with the patterns women paint on their bodies during awelye ceremonies, paying homage to their ancestors, the land and food it provides. The body painting lines and concentric circles are just visible beneath the rich layers of dots that represent the flowers and fruit of the bush melon. Her abundant and lively dotting in the rich warm colours of the bush allows for mesmerising textural complexity similar to that of the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye, and expresses well the scattering of the tiny seeds into the wind.
Galya is the youngest of the Pwerle sisters, and many of her family members are artists, including her eldest sister the late Minnie Pwerle, her niece Barbara Weir, and her extended family members Aileen and Betty Mpetyane. Galya first began to paint on canvas in 2004 with her older sisters Molly and Emily in a painting workshop organised by Barbara, and Minnie took a close and supportive role in the development of her younger sisters’ paintings. Galya was nominated in 2005 and 2008 for the Telstra Art Award.
Galya is still currently living within the Atnwengerrp community with her two sisters Molly and Emily Pwerle and many extended family members and still enjoying painting.
2020 Pwerle Gallery x Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute ‘Atnwengerrp – Our Apmere, Our Place’ in celebration of Tandanya’s 30th year anniversary, Adelaide.
2018 Mercedes Me x Pwerle Gallery Art Exhibition at Mercedes Me Melbourne.
2018 Pwerle Gallery ‘Utopia exhibition of four generations’, Adelaide.
2010 “A Summer Exhibition from The Lands”, group exhibition, McCulloch’s Aboriginal Art and Flinders Village Café, Flinders, VIC.
2010 “The Pwerle Sisters” Group Exhibition, DACOU Australia, Melbourne, VIC.
2010 “Utopia”, Group exhibition, DACOU Melbourne, Middle Park, VIC.
2010 “McCulloch’s Aboriginal Art – The Summer Show”, group exhibition, Salt Contemporary Art, Queenscliff, VIC.
2010 “Desert Rhythms”, group exhibition, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.
2009 “Utopia, Color’s of the Desert”, Gongpyeong Art Space in conjunction with DACOU, Australian Embassy in Korea & Crossbay Gallery, Seoul, Korea
2009 “Walking Together to Aid Aboriginal Health”, Shalom Gamarada Aboriginal Art Exhibition, University of NSW, Kensington, NSW.
2008 Group exhibition, “Utopia Discoveries”, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.
2008 Finalist for the 25th Telstra Awards.
2008 Group travelling exhibition to major cities of Australia, “EWB Elements”, presented by DACOU in conjunction with Dreamtime Art and Engineers Without Borders.
2008 Solo exhibition, “Galya Pwerle – Fruits of the Desert”, DACOU Melbourne, Middle Park, VIC.
2007 ‘Utopia in New York’ Robert Steele Gallery, New York. USA.
2007 Annual Group Exhibition ‘Shalom’, University of NSW, Shalom Department, Kensington, NSW.
2007 ‘Desert Diversity’, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.
2007 Group Exhibition, Australian Embassy, Washington, USA.
2007 ‘Treasures of the Spirit’, Tandanya Cultural Institute, Adelaide, SA.
2007 Group exhibition, “New Works from Utopia”, Space Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
2006 ‘The Pwerle Sisters’ Group exhibition, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2006 Group Exhibition, APS Bendi Lango Art Exhibition, Rio Tinto Offices, Melbourne, VIC
2005 Group exhibition, Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT
2005 Finalist for the Telstra Awards
Copyright to this biography and imagery belongs to Pwerle Gallery.