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"Atham-areny Story" by Angelina Ngale Pwerle
"Atham-areny Story" by Angelina Ngale Pwerle
"Atham-areny Story" by Angelina Ngale Pwerle
"Atham-areny Story" by Angelina Ngale Pwerle

Angelina Ngale Pwerle

"Atham-areny Story" by Angelina Ngale Pwerle


  • 90cm by 30cm in size
  • Painting with acrylics on canvas

Born to Nellie Petyarre at Utopia Station in 1947, Angelina was wife number one to artist and sculptor, Louis Pwerle (1935-1999) (number two wife is Sarah Morton Kngwarreye. Angelina is now living with Sarah and her family – all of whom are renowned artists.

Angelina was involved in the Batik Movement in the 70’s. She began painting in the late 80’s. Her work can be bold and vibrant with linear work illustrating body paint design, refined and subtle when portraying her Bush Plum Story from Different colours in her paintings are often influenced by country and seasonal variations, including the changes in the fruit ripening.

Well known for her fine dot representations of the Anwekety (Conkerberry or Bush Plum), Angelina quickly became a household name among Australian Indigenous galleries and has been exhibited extensively. In 2003, Angelina began painting the Atham-areny story of which she now predominately paints.

Women are called upon by a nangara (traditional doctor or healer) to sing and dance together to help heal someone touched by an Atham-areny spirit. Other ancestor spirits, ones that watch over the land and protect the people, are invoked during the process to assist.

In this painting, Angelina’s Atham-areny painting depicts a practice that falls into the supernatural realm of bush medicine.

Atham-areny comes from the Anmatyerre words atham (meaning no fire) and areny (meaning belonging to).

Angelina tells the story that these creatures can be known to come out of their homes and steal and hide the babies in the community. It is important that they stay by the fire. If the atham-areny does touch you, you will feel sick. If this happens a witch doctor must come to sing and dance the sickness out.

Angelina illustrates aboriginal women and children covered in Awelye (body paint designs), prepared to sing and dance with the witch doctor to help remove any sickness related to the atham-areny. The linear work in the background illustrates Awelye and a variety of plants that are found in Angelina's country, Ahalpere.