Born in 1956, Gracie Morton Pwerle is the daughter of traditional artist Myrtle Petyarre. She has always lived a traditional lifestyle at Utopia, spending her early years collecting bush foods and living off the land. Her education was as her mother’s had been not in a formal western style. 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. The artists from utopia were taken to Indonesia to learn the batik techniques. This project was known as the CMMA Summer project and allowed the Utopia artists to develop their own style that was immediately recognisable from the other other desert communities. Funded under government arts programs the Utopia Women traveled to the UK, Ireland, India and Europe before returning to Australia. This experience further garnered their confidence in their art making abilities.
In 1988 along with other Utopia artists, Gracie Morton Pwerle made the transition from Batiks to canvas. After seeing the success that many of the Papunya artists had working in Acrylic, Gracie and the other artists decided that it would give them both a better range of colours and would be much less labour intensive to paint in Acrylic paint on 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 of her Dream times. Her main subject is ‘Bush Plum’’ and ‘Bush Tomato’. Gracie Morton Pwerle uses the very fine bamboo skewers in groups to achieve the very fine dot painting that typifies her work, The dark tracks are where her ancestors traveled while collecting food in her country. Her works are in great demand world wide.