Born: c. 1931
Language Group: Alywarre
Country: Antarrengeny, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen, Batik on Silk, Seed Jewellery, Wood Carving
Subjects: Country, Awelye (Women's Ceremony and Body Paint Designs), Apeng (Kurrajong) Dreaming, Amern Altwerr (Wild Orange or Splitjack), Camp Scenes
Mary Morton was a well known Utopia artist. She was involved in the batik movement established at Utopia in the late 1970's.
Mary painted her country (Antarrengeny) and the ceremonial body paint designs belonging to her country. She lived in the Utopia region with her large extended family with a bright and bubbly personality. Mary had four daughters, Lucky, Audrey, Sarah and Ruby who are also well known in the Aboriginal art industry.
The Holmes á Court Collection, Perth
Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs
Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
The Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, USA
|1989||Utopia Women's Paintings, the First Works On Canvas, A Summer Project, 1988-89, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney|
|1990||Utopia A Picture Story, an exhibition of 88 works on silk from the Holmes á Court Collection by Utopia artists which toured Eire and Scotland|
|1990||Stanislawsk-Birnberg Margo, Journeylines©|
|1991||The Eighth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin|
|1991||Aboriginal Women's Exhibition, Art Gallery of N.S.W, Sydney|
|1993||The Tenth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin|
|1994||Yiribana, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney|
|2002||Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: Art and Soul Gallery, Nashville TN; 'The Cove Gallery' Portland OR; Urban Wine Works, Portland OR; Mary's Woods, Portland OR|
|2003||Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: New City Merchants, Knoxville TN; Art and Soul Gallery, Nashville TN; 'The Cove Gallery', Portland OR; Contemporary Aboriginal Art Event, Umpqua Bank, Portland OR; Mary's Woods, Portland OR; Art From The Dreamtime, Portland Art Museum, Portland OR|
|2004||Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions; Greenwich, Connecticut|
|2004||Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs, NT, opened by the Honorable Robert Hill|
|2005||Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs, NT, opened by the Honorable Robert Hill|
|2005||'Small Wonders', Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT|
|2006||Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs, NT, opened by the Honorable Robert Hill|
|Brody, A.||1989, Utopia Women's Paintings: the First Work on Canvas, A Summer Project 1988-89., cat., Heytesbury Holdings, Perth|
|Brody, A.||1990 Utopia, a Picture Story, 88 Silk Batiks from the Robert Holmes á Court Collection, Heytesbury Holdings Ltd Perth|
|Isaacs J.||Spirit Country, Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art, Hardie Grant Books ©1999|
|Desart||the Aboriginal art centres of Central Australia, 2000, Putting in the Colour Contemporary Aboriginal Textiles, Jukurrpa Books (IAD Press) ©2000|
The arced linear motifs in Mary's painting represent Awelye (Women's Ceremony and Body Paint Designs). These designs are painted onto the chest, breasts, arms and thighs. Powders ground from red and yellow ochre (clays), charcoal and ash are used as body paint and applied with a flat stick with soft padding. The women sing the songs associated with their Awelye as each woman takes her turn to be 'painted-up'. Women perform Awelye ceremonies to demonstrate respect for their country and the total well-being and health of their community.
The dot work that Mary has used in this painting represents Ngkweyang, the seed of Apeng, the desert Kurrajong tree. Not a habitual practice now, the Aboriginal people would collect these important and nutritious seeds, burn them to remove small hairs, and grind them into a paste for making damper (bread). Mary says that warm colours such as yellow and orange represent the Ngkweyang when it is old and ripe. The cooler colours such as green and purple are when the Ngkweyang are still raw.