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National Museum of Australia

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Awelye- panel 1 by Gloria Petyarre

2010.0008.0013

Awelye- panel 1 by Gloria Petyarre

Object information

Description

This painting is one of a collection of works which were made during the 1990s by artists at the Ngkawenyerre camp in the Utopia homelands, NT. Many figures in this collection are decorated with 'Awelye', ceremonial designs applied by women to their breasts and upper torso. The associated ceremonies are an integral part of community life and the 'Awelye' is performed by women to ensure the fertility of the land, spiritual and physical well-being and social harmony [1].

Physical description

An acrylic painting on stretched polyester. It has a brown background with orange, blue and pink lines drawn across it. It is one of 4 panels in a series done by the artist. The annotation on the verso reads, 'Gloria Petyarre / Jan'.99 / Utopia N.T. / "Awelye" '.

Statement of significance

This collection consists of works made during the 1990s by artists at the Ngkawenyerre camp in the Utopia homelands, NT. They are varied in size and media, and in good condition. All works refer to aspects of the 'Awelye' ceremony and feature women's body paint designs. The associated ceremonies are an integral part of community life and the 'Awelye' is performed by women to ensure the fertility of the land, spiritual and physical well being and social harmony.

Aboriginal people of the Utopia region have a strong tradition of mark making in a range of media and their work is well represented in museum and art gallery collections in Australia and overseas. These works, collected in the 1990s, are seminal examples that represent the early transference of ceremonial design from traditional forms and methods of painting to portable two dimensional surfaces for outside audiences. They are historically significant examples of the use of introduced tools and materials such as acrylic paint on canvas and papier mache and wire. The papier mache figures were an experimental form, of which few examples now exist.

Object information

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