This painting has been hand painted by Lena Pwerle of Utopia, Central Australia. Circular designs represent soakages (or waterholes) that are spread across her land in the Utopia Region.
Lena says that these soakages, now all dried and used up, had plenty of water in them long ago, even when she was growing up, providing her people with a much needed water supply. With their intimate knowledge of the land, Lena’s people knew how and where to find them in the harsh desert environment.
“Long time [ago] olden time mob get their little coolamon (bowl), they check them [soakages] – proper good one water! They been find ‘em under the ground. My grandmother taught me where to find ‘em. They dry now, they finish. They [my people] drink bore water now” - Lena Pwerle
'What is a Soakage?'
Soakages exhibition I Lena Pwerle - 15 Oct - 16 Dec 2015
Soakages Sequel exhibition I Lena Pwerle - 16 Sep - 12 Nov 16
Name: Lena Pwerle
Skin name: Pwerle (also spelled Pula)
Language group: Anmatyerre
Region: Utopia, Central Australia
Lena began painting in the 1990’s and is renowned for her Soakage paintings. Initially she worked in the medium of batik along with over eighty other women from the Utopia Region in Central Australia. Her work in batik is featured in “Utopia – A Picture Story”. In 1996 she represented Australia in Western Samoa for the Festival of Pacific Arts where she was marked as ‘among the best available talent’. In this same year she also travelled to Indonesia with other women of Utopia for a workshop funded by the Northern Territory Department of Education so that they could learn more about the art of batik.
Lena is a senior boss woman at Utopia and is on a number of government boards including the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (which protects the sacred sites within the NT) and the Urapuntja council which governs Utopia. Lena’s personality reflects this immense responsibility while exuding good nature and humour. Lena encourages and ensures that other Utopia women participate in exhibitions and ceremonies, and share their knowledge to promote their culture and community spirit.
View Lena Pwerle's profile and collection »
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