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LANGUAGE GROUP: Alyawarre
COMMUNITY: Utopia, NT
William Pwerle Ross was born circa 1940 and is a senior lawman in Irrultja in Utopia. His country is near Irrultja and his language group is Alyawarre. He is the brother of the
late Simon Pwerle Ross (c.1940- 2008) and his sister is Molly Pwerle Ross, an emerging artist from Irrultja. He is first cousin to The Pwerle sisters (Minnie Pwerle, Molly Pwerle Hunter, Emily Pwerle and Galya Pwerle) and also Lizzie Pwerle Lewis.
William Ross’ paintings hold significant importance due to his role as lawman in the region. As an important person of the Irrultja community, William has many responsibilities in overseeing and teaching the younger men about law and ceremony. William only began painting in 2005 after encouragement from community members. Since then he has developed several styles, however the use of traditional colours is consistent in all his work, whether it be in his linear designs or dot construction.
William usually paints small vertical brush strokes that appear as rows of small blocks meandering freely across the canvas. The brush strokes represent the designs painted during the sacred Men’s Ceremony, which are usually created on the ground as a sand painting, on the body with ochre & fat, and/or on specific ceremonial objects such as shields and headgear.
Recently William has created beautiful works that consist of rows of fine dots that alternate in carefully selected hues. These paintings possess an organic rhythm and a sense of the shimmering heat on the sandhills in his country. In such modern dot representation, the sacred aspect of the painting is not always revealed but the meaning remains, transmitted through symbols or designs which are easily understood by initiated men.
2011 Group exhibition, DACOU Melbourne, Melbourne.
2011 Another Perspective: Emerging artists from Irrultja in Utopia, group exhibition, DACOU Melbourne, Melbourne.
2010 Group exhibition Desert Art from Utopia, DACOU & Southern Health, Monash Medical Centre, Clayton, VIC.
2009 Utopia and Papunya Contemporary Aboriginal Art, Bay Gallery, London. UK.
2009 DACOU Broome, Broome, WA.
2009 Men’s Ceremony, DACOU Melbourne, Middle Park, VIC.
2008 EWB Elements group exhibition travelling to major cities in Australia, presented by DACOU in conjunction with Dreamtime Art and Engineers Without Borders
2008 Gallery Savah, Paddington, NSW.
2007 African Muse Gallery, Paris, France.
2006 DACOU Adelaide, Port Adelaide, SA.