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Dora Mbitjana / Awelye Atnwengerrp (Body Paint) (DM016)
152cm x 90cm Acrylic on CanvasView more from artist
152cm x 90cm Acrylic on Canvas
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Ochre / Kimberley artworks are shipped on canvas or linen, already stretched, ready to hang unless stated otherwise.
Acrylic artworks are shipped on canvas or linen un-stretched, rolled up in a cardboard tube unless stated otherwise.
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Dora Mbitjana is a member of one of the most renowned painting families in Australia. Her mother was Minnie Pwerle (dcd 2006) and her great-aunt was Emily Kngwarreye (dcd 1996), two of our most celebrated artists. Born in 1965, Dora is the youngest daughter of Minnie’s seven children, including the International artist Barbara Weir.
The artists of Utopia are known for their clever and free use of colour and brave, bold designs, whilst still executing delicate imaging. Dora’s aunts (Minnie’s sisters), Emily, Galya and Molly who are aged between 85 and 95 years, began painting with Minnie in 2004, and whilst each lady has their distinctive style, they produce artworks possessing an elusive magic that is hard to define, full of colour and movement and fluid execution so typical of the Utopian artists.
Dora paints the Body Paint (Awleye) designs, coupled with the small roundels of bush melons and large roundels (soakages) made famous by her mother, but stamping the artworks as her own with flair and recognisable signature strong brush strokes.
Dora has four children and resides in Alice Springs, returning to her homelands of Atnwengerrp with her family often. A quiet, traditional lady who continues to pay homage to her heritage by depicting the bush tucker, ceremonial body paint and water sources in her country.
Along with her three aunts, Emily, Molly and Galya Pwerle, and her sisters Barbara Weir and Betty Mbitjana, Dora will continue to delight collectors within Australia and worldwide with the unique art of Utopia, memorable for the amazing colour and flowing imagery.
• The Holmes à Court Collection, Perth
• 1990, Utopia – A Picture Story, an exhibition of 88 works on silk from the Robert Holmes à Court Collection by Utopia Artists which toured Eire and Scotland.
The bold patterns throughout Dora’s painting illustrate women’s ceremonial body paint design. The large roundels depict the waterholes around which the women perform ceremony and the small circles are the bush melons, representing the bush tucker that they live on whilst the ceremonies are taking place, which often take up to week. The women apply the body paint designs onto their breasts, arms and thighs singing as each woman takes their turn to be ‘painted up’. Their songs relate to the dreaming stories of ancestral travel and other totemic plants, animals and natural forces. Awelye – women’s ceremony, demonstrates respect for the land. In performing these ceremonies they ensure well-being and happiness within their communities.
Though Dora enjoys using lots of different colours in her paintings, the traditional colours used during ceremony for her dreaming stories from Atnwengerrp country are red and white. Atnwengerrp lies in the heartland of Alyawarr country, approx. 200 kilometres to the north-east of Alice Springs.
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