Artist: Barbara Weir
Language group: Anmatyerre and Alyawarr
Area: Utopia Region, Central Australia
Barbara Weir is one of Australia’s leading artists and her artworks have been collected and exhibited around the world for over two decades. Her journey has been one of extraordinary courage and fortitude, taken away as a young girl from her family as one of Australia's Stolen Generation.
The breakthrough in Barbara’s career came with an overseas visit to Paris and Switzerland in 1996, where at the request of a European gallery she was commissioned to create a collection of works for exhibition. Her work created during that time was overwhelmingly popular with local collectors and the collection was a sell out. With confidence riding high, she grew in great demand, later having successful exhibitions in Australia, across Europe, Japan, United States, Mexico and Fiji.
Later in 1996, after the death of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Barbara concentrated on developing her skill and style, particularly of her Grass Seed paintings which became her most collectable works during the 1990’s and early 00’s. Inspired by a small grass found in Utopia called Lyaw, these paintings consist of a series of small brush strokes that overlap and weave to create a swaying effect like that of native grass.
Today, Barbara travels nationally producing work for a constant stream of exhibitions within Australia. Always challenging herself, she enjoys nothing more that experimenting with new mediums and patterns, continually seeking new ways to illustrate her Aboriginal heritage. In addition to Grass Seed, her most popular works are variations of her 'My Mother's Country' dot paintings, mapping out in exquisite detail the land formations and ceremonial designs of Atnwengerrp country in the Utopia region. These are significantly important to her given that her father was an Irish stationowner and she did not have a traditional country passed down from her father's side. Her mother was the late Minnie Pwerle who started painting herself because of Barbara well into her late 80's, and becoming one of Australia's leading artists.
Barbara Weir’s work is represented in numerous private collections in Australia and overseas. Her work is in the public collections of Art Gallery of South Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Galley of Queensland, AMP and the Macquarie Bank Collections. She was also one of the five featured artists in the Australian Tourist Commissions multi-million dollar overseas television campaign.