Gracie Pwerle Morton
Born on Utopia Station, c.1956, Gracie Morton Pwerle is the daughter of well-known artist Myrtle Petyarre and the sister of famous artists Gloria and Kathleen Petyarre. There is a rich artistic tradition that runs through Gracie’s family as well as the Utopia community. Not only Gracie’s aunties but her sisters, Mary, Rita and Elizabeth, are also artists.
Gracie Morton began painting in the late 1980s during the “A Summer Project”, where acrylic paints and canvas were introduced to the women of Utopia. Her artworks have been well received throughout Australia and overseas. Gracie is a senior traditional custodian of the Arnwekety (Bush Plum) Dreaming, and in accordance with traditional law she is responsible for ensuring the Dreaming, customs and traditions associated with the Bush Plum are upheld. This responsibility was passed down to Gracie from her father and aunt.
Gracie’s primary subject in her artwork is Arnwekety and through her artwork she depicts the changing seasonal influences on the plant. Gracie creates a wonderful lyricism in her artworks, causing a three-dimensional visual effect that guides the observer through the soft outward reaching fields of colour.
Gracie’s artworks are represented in major private collections including the Holmes à Court Collection and her artworks are exhibited regularly throughout Australia. She has been a part of international exhibitions in China, Germany, Italy, and The Netherlands.
In this painting, Gracie paints the Bush Plum seeds. 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 the 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 winds.