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Barbara Weir / Mother’s Country (DG7722)

120cm x 90cm Acrylic on Linen, 2011

SKU: DG7722


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Barbara Weir was born in c. 1945 at Bundy River Station, Utopia. Her country is Atnwengerrrp and her language is Anmatyerre and Alyawarr.

Barbaras mother was the acclaimed artist Minnie Pwerle (dcsd. 2006) and her father was Irish. Barbara was grown up by her aunty, Emily Kame Kngwarreye who went on to become the most celebrated painter of the Utopia Movement and Australias best known desert artist. At the age of 9 Barbara was taken into care by Native Welfare (children taken at this time are now known as the Stolen Generation).

Barbara was fostered out to various families in Alice Springs, Victoria, and Darwin. During these years she lost contact with her family but vowed to return and re-claim her heritage.

In the late 1960s she returned to Utopia with her children. She re-learnt the languages and her culture and re-established contact with all her family including the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye and her Grandfather Quartpot Akemarr. Being exposed to many artists at Utopia, in particular Emily, Barbara in the early 1990s developed a profound interest in painting.

In 1994, Barbara, along with a small group of artists from Utopia, travelled to Indonesia to learn more about the art of batik. The Utopia women were well known for their beautiful batiks and this contributed to the Aboriginal community buying back the region of Utopia in 1979. Barbara returned full of ideas for developing her own creative painting style. She began work with her son, Fred Torres (now the owner and director of Dacou Aboriginal Art Gallery). In 1996, Barbara travelled to Paris and Switzerland at the request of a European Art Gallery owner who commissioned some of Barbaras work. Private collectors quickly purchased every painting and this proved to be the turning point in Barbaras artistic career.

After Emilys passing in 1996, Barbara concentrated on developing her skill as an artist and soon attracted the attention of collectors by producing works that were very contemporary in style. It was not long before her paintings were drawing rave reviews. In 1996, Barbara travelled to France and Switzerland to paint solely for private collectors. All works were commissioned and immediately sold.

Barbaras dreamings include Bush Berry, My Mothers Country, Awelye and her famous Grass Seed dreaming. Barbaras paintings have been exhibited extensively throughout Australia and the world, including Japan, America and Europe.

Barbara is a well documented artist and has featured in numerous publications and in 2004 was chosen by the Australian Tourist Commission to appear in an advertisement titled Barbara Weirs Australia. Barbara currently resides in Adelaide with frequent visits to her mothers country, and is continually seeking new ways to illustrate her Aboriginal heritage. She is one of the most exciting Aboriginal artists to emerge into the world of mainstream art.

Selected Solo & Group Exhibitions

– DACOU Gallery, Adelaide
– Davis Avenue Gallery, Melbourne

– Framed Gallery, Darwin
– Gallery Woo Mang & Partners, Paris, France
– Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne
– Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney
– Barbara Weir, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane

– Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney NSW
– DACOU Gallery, Adelaide
– Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
– Dreamings of the Desert Artist in Residence Program, Art Gallery of South Australia
– Solo exhibition at DACOU Gallery, Adelaide
– Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne
– Ten Years On, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne
– Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney, NSW
– 14th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award
– Solo exhibition, Barry Stern Gallery, Sydney
– FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane

– Women Painters Of The Desert, FireWorks, Brisbane
– ARTEXPO New York in association with Mandurah Ltd New York.
– Utopia IV, Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney
– Solo exhibition, Chapman Gallery, Canberra
– SCECGS Redlands, Sydney
– 15th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards for 1998
– Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne
– Adelaide Festival Theatre, Adelaide

Selected Collections
– Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
– National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
– Art Gallery of Queensland, Brisbane
– Hank Ebes Collection
– Holmes a Court Collection
– Hitachi Collection
– AMP Collection
– Macquarie Bank Collection

Barbara Weir’s Aboriginal grandfather came from a region called Atnwengerrp, and it is this country that is depicted in her paintings titled “Mother’s Country”. In the background of the paintings, Barbara often depicts the abandoned campsites that the people made as they trekked across the country in search of food or the coolamons used by the women to collect the fruit and berries. It may also show the forms of a woman’s body that are adorned with paint for the women’s ceremonies. Overlaying these representations is a complex array of brush strokes / dots that depicts the type of bush-tucker found across the land. This includes the bush yam, potato, berry, plum, banana and the ever-important grass seed that was vital to the people’s survival. This edible grass seed, from a particular type of grass, was collected by the people and then cleaned and ground into a paste to form a type of bush damper. The grass seed was quite abundant across the land in the time of Barbara’s Grandfather and Mother. Today, the rabbits and bullock eat most of the grass seed.

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