Mervyn Torres Pwerle


Born: 1971

Language Group: Alyawarre and Anmatyerre

Country: Atnwengerrp and Ahalpere, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen

Subjects: Anwekety (Conkerberry), Ahakeye (Bush Plum)

Mervyn comes from a family of talented and famed artists. Being the youngest son to Barbara Weir, an internationally acclaimed Aboriginal artist, it is no wonder Mervyn began experimenting with painting as a teenager. He grew up in many places including Alice Springs and Adelaide, but spent most of his childhood years with his mother's family in Artekerre (Three Bores), in the Utopia Region and attended school in Ankerrapw (Utopia Homestead).

Having gone through Aboriginal lore with his grandfather, Motorcar Jim Ngale, and not with his father, Mervyn belongs to his grandfather's country of Ahalpere. He takes Atnwengerrp as his country also, which belongs to his grandmother. Mervyn paints the Anwekety (Conkerberry Story) and the Ahakeye (Bush Plum Dreaming) which both come from his grandfather's country, Ahalpere.

The Anwekety is a shrub which grows to approximately 2 metres high, has fragrant white flowers and grows edible sweet black berries. Other uses included medicinal properties found in the roots and thorns and the fine-grained wood is used for making spear heads. The Ahakeye, known as Bush Plum to the people of Utopia, is also described as Native Currant or Native Citrus in English. A shrub growing taller than the Anwekety, it also bears sweet black berries and is important in Aboriginal mythology.

Not a frequent painter, Mervyn began painting for Mbantua Gallery in April 2004. Out of his seven sisters and five brothers, few of them paint. Sisters Teresa and Charmaine both paint for Mbantua Gallery, also his grandmother, the famed artist Minnie Pwerle, and many of his large extended family from Utopia.

His whole life, Mervyn has unwittingly been around art. Even from the age of 5, Mervyn recalls, he spent countless hours watching the Aboriginal women of Utopia do their batik designs on silk, now known as the Batik Movement of the 1970's and 80's.


Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs


2004 Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT