We are excited to showcase this special solo exhibition, showcasing a new collection of paintings by Utopia artist and ngangker, Jeannie Mills Pwerle, which opens today and will be online through 12 June.
Born in 1965 in a remote region of Central Australia some 250 km north east of Alice Springs, Jeannie's pedigree is richly imbued with some of Australia's most respected Aboriginal painters. Her grandma wasEmily Kame Kngwarreye, Australia's number 1 ranked Australian Aboriginal artist on the AIAM. Her mother,Dolly Mills Petyarre, was a 90's sensation represented in many sell out exhibitions and her uncle the lateGreeny Purvis Petyarre was a finalist in the 21st NATSIAA.
As well as being an artist, Jeannie is a ngangker.
A ngangker is a traditional healer or doctor, sometimes loosely called witch doctor. As a ngangker, Jeannie carries a responsibility to provide healing advice, medicine and applications to the community when needed, which is often at any hour and for no payment.
Jeannie currently resides in a small camp near Arlparra Store - the one store servicing the entire 1,000+ sq km region, which is an accessible area for those seeking her services. Wherever she lives or travels, people know about it, such that her home is often called 'Jeannie's camp'. She lives with senior elder Lena Pwerle, and the two are heavily involved in educating and encouraging other women to participate in painting, exhibitions and culture.
There are many different types of bush medicine. One of the predominate medicines Jeannie works with is Apeng. Leaves of the Kurrajong tree are ground for mixing with other materials, smelling strongly of menthol. When mixed with water it can be drunk as a solution for chest colds, or if mixed with animal fats it is applied topically to help ease pain. Jeannie tries to keep a drum full of the latter and gives it out for free when people come for it. When she travels she brings with her a small tin full in case her services are called upon.
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