Collection: Gracie Morton Pwerle

Artist: Gracie Morton Pwerle
Born: c1956-2024
Region: Utopia
Language: Alyawarre

Gracie is of the Eastern Alyawarre language group. She was born in 1956 at Utopia Station, approximately 250 km north-east of Alice Springs. Her family’s traditional country (Alhalkere) is associated with the Mosquito Bore (Lyentye) region, an outstation of Utopia where Gracie, together with her husband and two children, moved some years ago.

She is the daughter of artist Myrtle Petyarre who is sister to Gloria Petyarre. Gracie began her painting career in the 1980s at Utopia working initially with batik, before only recently transposing her designs onto canvas. Her paintings are distinctively minimalist, highlighted by delicate dotting and a traditional palette derived from the colours of natural ochres. Her most commonly depicted subject is the bush plum known to the Alyawarre people as Arnwekety.

Gracie works with great strength and dynamism of the Utopian women artists that continues across the generations. Gracie’s delicate dotting and colour variation uses an aerial perspective to portray the seasonal changes of the Amwekety – the Bush Plum, a plant of great significance to the women of Gracie’s traditional country, Mosquito Bore.

Gracie Morton's style of painting is distinctively minimalist, and she uses a very delicate dotting technique and traditional colours. Her signature theme is the “bush plum” stories known to the Alyawarre as Arnwekety. Gracie's work, first featured in the important Robert Holmes à Court Collection, is now in many important private and public collections worldwide.

Mosquito Bore in the Utopia comprises about 6 or 7 small houses but is the home to many of Australia’s famous Aboriginal artists. Gracie’s family and neighbours include Gloria Petyarre, Ronnie Price, Louis Pwerle and Rita Ngale. When working in Batik Gracie produced many quality works and her move into arylics on canvas has allowed for the progressive development of her skills as a painter.

Open to outside influence, Gracie’s style has evolved into the highly detailed spectre as it presently appears. Her work is quite brilliant, comprised of laborious fine dtos in intricate patterns, all associated with stories of her Dreamtimes. Her works are highly sought after and represented in many Australian Galleries.

Gracie’s exhibits regularly in Australia, more recently in a solo show titled ‘Mosquito Bore – The Art of the Minimalist’ at Ancient Earth Indigenous Art Gallery in Cairns and in a group exhibition at the Alliance Francaise de Canberra and French Embassy in Canberra.

Gracie passed away in April 2024. She will always remain part of the Corroboree Dream Art family and will be sadly be missed.

Major Exhibitions:
2000 Ancient Earth Indigenous Art, Cairns, Australia Group

1985 Desert Mob, Araluen Centre for the Arts, Alice Springs, Australia
1986 Desert Mob, Araluen Centre for the Arts, Alice Springs, Australia
1989 Utopia Women’s Paintings. The First Works on Canvas. A Summer Project, SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney, Australia
1989-91 Utopia – A Picture Story, Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide, Australia; The Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Ireland; Meat Market Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
1991 Desert Mob, Araluen Centre for the Arts, Alice Springs, Australia
1991 8th National Aboriginal Art Awards, Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, Australia
1992 Desert Mob, Araluen Centre for the Arts, Alice Springs, Australia
1993 Desert Mob, Araluen Centre for the Arts, Alice Springs, Australia
1994 Desert Mob, Araluen Centre for the Arts, Alice Springs, Australia
1996 Desert Mob, Araluen Centre for the Arts, Alice Springs, Australia
1998 Utopia und Balgo Hills, Aboriginal Art Galerie Baehr, Speyer, Germany
1998 Culture Store, Art Gallery, Rotterdam. Netherlands
1998 Dreamings, Spazio Pitti Arte, Florenz, Italy
1999 Alliance Francaise de Canberra and French Embassy. Australia
1999 Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, Australia
1999 Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, Australia
1999 My Country – Journey of our Ancestors, Ancient Earth Indigenous Art, Cairns
2000 Kunst der Aborigines, Leverkusen, Germany
2000 Mosquito Bore – The Art of the Minimalist, Ancient Earth Indigenous Art,Australia
2001 alice.fitzroy@af, Alliance Francaise de Canberra , Canberra, Australia
2001 The Unseen in Scene, Staedtische Galerie Wolfsburg, Germany
2001-02 Recounting the Essence of Life. Art from Australia, Kunstforum HDZ, Bad Oeynhausen, Germany
2002 Land is Life. Art from Australia, Jagdschloss Granitz, Binz, Ruegen, Germany
2002 Kult(o)urnacht, Aboriginal Art Galerie Baehr, Speyer, Germany.