Minnie Motorcar Pwerle was born circa 1910 on McDonnell Down station in the Northern Territory, approximately 200 miles north-east of Alice Springs and died on 18th March 2006. Minnie had 5 sisters and one brother (the other brother is now deceased). One of Minnie’s sisters, prominent senior artist the late Emily Kngwarreye, continued to paint and exhibit until age 92. Minnie had seven children including Eileen, Betty, June, Dora, Raymond, and Barbara Weir who is a well-known Aboriginal artist. Minnie often returned to her country in Utopia or visited grandson Fred Torres in Adelaide.
Minnie started painting in the 1980's completing batik works for the Robert Holmes a Court Collection. In 2000 Minnie had her first solo exhibition in Flinders Lane Gallery in Melbourne. Since then, she exhibited regularly throughout Australia. Minnie often travelled to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney for exhibitions. To be selected into the Telstra award is an enormous recognition of her work.
Minnie began painting in earnest recently at the Utopia Community’s workshops where she completed a series of linear paintings in September/October 1999. These works are bold and free-flowing.
Minnie's main Dreamings are Awelye-Atnwengerrp (body paint), Bush Melon and Bush Melon Seed. These convey her love and respect for the land and the food it provides to the people.
Minnie’s dreamings reflect her connection with her country and the food it provides the people. This pattern represents the designs painted on the top half of the women's bodies during ceremonies in their country of Atnwengerrp. Bush Melon is represented by meandering linear design, circles and breast motif in different colours, creating very fluid and bold paintings. Bush Melon Seed comprises large and small patches of colour strewn across the canvas. Both these Dreamings tell the story of the sweet bush tucker that comes from a very small bush and is only found in Atnwengerrp. Once very abundant and fruiting in the summer it is now very hard to find. Minnie and the other women used to collect this fruit (which was green in colour and ripened to a brown colour) and scrape out the small black seeds. They would then eat the fruit immediately or cut it into pieces and skewer them on a piece of wood and dry them to be eaten in the times when bush tucker was scarce.
· 2000 Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
· 2003 Original & Authentic Aboriginal Art, Melbourne Australia
· 2003 Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, Australia
· 2004 Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, Australia
· 2000 DACOU in association with AMP- Exhibition of various Utopia Artists Sept 00
· 2000 Various galleries throughout Australia including Gallery Savah - Sydney, Flinders Lane Gallery
- Melbourne and Mbantua Gallery - Alice Springs
· 2001 San Anselmo, Marin County California, USA Exhibited with Barbara Weir
· 2001 Chapman Gallery, Canberra, Australia 'Out of Utopia', with Barbara Weir
· 2001 Japingka Gallery, Perth, Australia 'Tumaru Purlyjumunu - Small Stories'
· 2001 Raintree Aboriginal Art Gallery, Darwin, Australia 'Desert Colour - My Country'
· 2001 Tandanya, Adelaide, Australia 'Painting Country'
· 2001 Dreamtime Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA - Combined Exhibition
· 2001 Gallery 2021, Auckland, New Zealand 'Women Artists of the Australian Desert'
· 2003 Walkabout Gallery, Sydney, Australia 'My Grandmother and Me'
· 2003 Japingka Gallery, Perth, WA, Australia 'Light over Utopia'
· 2003 Indigenart, Subiaco, WA, Australia - 'Women's stories from Utopia'
· 2003 Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
· 2004 Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand 'Outback'
· 2004 Sofitel Wentworth Hotel, Sydney, Australia - 'The Heartbeat - Living Country'
· 2004 Gondwana Gallery, Alice Springs, Australia 'Utopian Women Artists'
· 2004 Cicada Trading at Emily's Restaurant, Houston, USA 'Utopia comes to Seabrook'
· 2004 Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane, Australia ' Lines IV'
· 2004 Indigenart, Subiaco, WA, Australia - 'Black and White 'works from Utopia and Kintore'
· 2004 Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia 'Blak Artists'
· 2004 Australian Trade Commission, Seoul, South Korea - 'Our Country, Our Art'
· 2004 Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane, Australia 'Predominantly White'
· 2005 Cicada Trading at Emily's Restaurant, Houston, USA
· 2005 Cicada Trading at New York Art Fair, New York, USA
· 2006 Cicada Trading at MiArt 06, Milan, Italy
· 2006 Cicada Trading 'Dreamtime Stories' in Bahrain
· 2007 Cicada Trading in Abu Dhabi, UAE
· 2007 Cicada Trading in Canterbury, UK
· 2007 Cicada Trading in Paris, France
· 2007 Cicada Trading in Houston, France
· The Robert Holmes a Court Collection, WA, Australia depicted
in a book entitled Utopia - A Picture Story