Emily Pwerle Indigenous Australian, b. c. 1922-


Born: Utopia, NT

Language Group: Anmatyerre/Alyawerre

Community: Utopia, NT


Emily Pwerle was born in 1922 and is the sister of famous Utopian Aboriginal artist Minnie Pwerle. Emily was born in Utopia and has lived a traditional Indigenous life, with little exposure to the Western way of living.  This has made her very knowledgeable on Indigenous culture, which has provides Emily with plentiful inspiration for her artwork.


Interestingly, Emily didn’t pick up a paintbrush until her early 80s. Only when encouraged by her sister Minnie, did she start to explore painting with canvas and acrylic paints. Emily instantly took to painting and in no time started to create works which were individualistic expressions of Dreamtime. Tjukurrpa stories. 


Emily Pwerle often images Awelye, or body paint design, which is a symbolic representation of women’s ceremony, the iconography referring to abstracted breasts, with the traditional hatched pattern. These designs are painted in ochre on the upper torso and breasts of Utopia women during ceremony.


2005    Permanent exhibition and 
collection, DACOU Australia, Rosewater, SA.
2005    Group exhibition, Mbantua 
Gallery, Alice Springs, NT.
2006    Group Exhibition, ‘The Pwerle 
Sisters,’ Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.
2006    Group exhibition, APS Bendi 
Lango Art Exhibition, Rio Tinto Offices, Melbourne, VIC.
06/07   Group exhibition, Fireworks 
Gallery, Brisbane, QLD.
2007    ‘Utopia in New York’ Robert 
Steele Gallery, New York. USA.
2007    Group Exhibition, Australian 
Embassy, Washington, USA.
2007    “New Works from Utopia”, 
Space Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
2008    “Utopia Collection”, Japinka 
Gallery, Perth, WA
2008    “Utopia Discoveries”, Flinders 
Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.
2008    Group travelling exhibition to 
major cities in Australia, “EWB 
Elements”, presented by Dreamtime Art in conjunction with DACOU.
2009    “Utopia, Color’s of the Desert”, 
Gongpyeong Art Space in 
conjunction with DACOU, Australian Embassy in Korea & Crossbay Gallery, Seoul, Korea.
2009    Utopia group exhibition, 
DACOU Broome, Broome, WA.
2009    Group Exhibition, Gallery Savah, 
Sydney, NSW.
2009    “Body Markings”, solo 
exhibition, DACOU Gallery Melbourne, Middle Park, VIC.
2010    Solo Exhibition, Gallery Savah, 
Sydney, NSW.
2010    “The Pwerle Sisters” Group 
Exhibition DACOU Australia, 
Melbourne VIC.