Born in the Atnwengerrp region in the Northern Territory, Jeannie Mills Pwerle is an Alyawarre woman and an established Utopian artist. Many members of her family are also well known artists. Her mother is the acclaimed artist Dolly Mills and her uncle was Greeny Purvis Petyarre (late), a well respected elder in her community. Jeannie predominantly depicts the Bush Yam Dreaming from her father’s country of Irrwelty in Utopia. Thick segments in bright and varied colours represent the flowers and root of the yam, while precise and detailed dot work, usually in white, between the segments represents the yam seeds.
Yams are collected and eaten all over Australia. The process of collecting and preparing yams is important to learn as incorrect preparation of the bush yam can lead to poisoning. You can view some footage of bush yam being collected here.
Jeannie’s artwork was selected to exhibit in the 25th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Art Award in 2008, a prestigious award that introduced Jeannie Mills Pwerle to an international audience.