Gracie Pwerle Morton
Born: Utopia, NT
LANGUAGE GROUP: Alyawarre
COMMUNITY: Utopia, NT
Gracie Pwerle Morton was born in Utopia, Northern Territory around 1956. She is one of the senior traditional custodians for both the Altyerre (Dreaming) and the vast expanse of related country, some 263kms north of Alice Springs. In accordance to traditional law the responsibility for the Bush Plum Dreaming has been passed down to Gracie from her father and her aunt, who are responsible for ensuring that she perseveres its traditions.
Gracie Pwerle Morton's career began in the 1970's with the Utopia Women's Batik Group and on canvas in the late 1980's. Her work has been well received in galleries throughout Australia and around the world. Gracie works with great strength and dynamism of the Utopian women artists that continue across the generations. Gracie's delicate dotting and colour variation uses an aerial perspective to portray the seasonal changes of the Arnwekety - the Bush Plum, a plant of great significance to the women of Gracie's traditional country, Mosquito Bore.
Gracie Morton's style of painting is distinctively minimalist and she uses a very delicate dotting technique and traditional colours. Her signature theme is the "bush plum" stories known to the Alyawarre as Arnwekety.
The delightfully subtle paintings of the Arnwekety - the Bush Plum, depict the changing seasonal influences on a plant that is of the greatest significance to the Alyawarre women of the Eastern Desert region of the Northern Territory. The incredible finesse of Gracie's style creates a wonderful lyricism in her works, causing a three-dimensionality that pulls at the eye guiding the viewer through the soft, outward-reaching fields of colour, while simultaneously transfixing one in its undulations.
The Bush Plum is a highly nutritious small fruit with black seeds, rich in vitamin C, that can be eaten raw or cooked. Growing in a great profusion of flower and fruit throughout the winter months, the women, accompanied by the children, collect the Bush Plums, while at the same time reconfirming their connection to the land. The flourish of colour that distinguishes the Bush Plum after the fall of rain, is quickly transformed with the long hot summer months. Dried and separated, the seed and husk are scattered over the vast sun baked landscape by the hot summer wind.