Awelye "Women's Ceremony"

Awelye "Women's Ceremony"


Abie Loy Kamerre

Australian Aboriginal, Anmatyerr people, Utopia, Central Desert, Northern Territory, born 1972

Near the center of Australia, out of a station named Utopia, a group of women have painted their way to fame. They are among the leading names in Australian Aboriginal art and many attribute their fluid use of acrylics to years of experience with painting bodies for ceremonies. Currently at the Seattle Art Museum, a painting of white leaves floating against a black background has become a signature for excellence in this field. It was painted by Gloria Petyarre, whose niece Abie Loy, is now following in the footsteps of her female relatives. She began painting at the age of 22, and was mentored by her "grandmother," Kathleen Petyarre. Each has developed their own style, but all rely on consistency and repetitive structure. Awelye is composed of rectangles that embody a multitude of minor variations. Loaded brushstrokes define the frameworks, while tiny white dots offset a black background. The artist credits ceremony as a source for inspiration, but one outsider's reading of the accumulated surface is to see it as a vast array of windows onto another world.
Acrylic on linen
40 3/16 x 59 13/16in. (102 x 152cm)
Gift of Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan in honor of Mimi Gardner Gates
Provenance: [Gallerie Australis, Adelaide, Australia, 2007]; robert Kaplan and Margaret Levi, Seattle
Not currently on view

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