Born in 1956, Gracie Morton Pwerle is the daughter of artist Myrtle Petyarre. She has always lived a traditional lifestyle at Utopia, spending her early years collecting bush foods and living off the land. She did not have a formal western style education and was taught to paint by her mother and extended family, including Kathleen and Gloria Petyarre. She now lives at Mosquito Bore with her husband and two children.
Gracie Morton Pwerle gained recognition as an artist working in the medium of batik, exhibiting her work with the Utopia women in Australia and overseas. Funded under government arts programs the Utopia Women travelled to the UK, Ireland, India and Europe before returning to Australia.
In 1988 along with other Utopia artists, Gracie made the transition from Batiks to canvas. Her work initially depicted typical body-paint designs and the use of traditional symbols of the Utopia region. However, Gracie’s style has since evolved into brilliant images of laborious fine dots in intricate patterns, all associated with stories from her ancestors. Her main subject is ‘Bush Plum’’ and ‘Bush Tomato’. Her works are in great demand world wide.
Gracie’s paintings represent “Bush Plum and Tomato Dreaming” sometimes her intricate and layered dotwork detail the fruit which grows on low shrubs,the different colours of each piece indicating seasonal changes. Then she may add the walking tracks, which meander through the bush, that the women use on their trips to collect this favorite bush fruit. It is a group activity and the older women use this time to teach the children about country and culture.
Gracie Morton Pwerle also incorporates” Awelye” into her paintings. “Awelye” is the body-paint design significant to
ceremonies and rituals that are the basis of her culture. All Gracie’s paintings are about culture, country, seasons and ceremony.