Born: c. 1970's
Language Group: Arrernte /Alyawarre
Country: Angootuna, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas and Linen
Subjects: Ntyemeny (Ruby Saltbush), Awelye (Women's Ceremony), Bush Foods, Yerrampe (Honey Ants), Kwatye (Water) Dreaming
Shirley began painting for Mbantua Gallery in 1999. Her mother, Elsie Dixon, and many of her extended family members are talented dot painters. Shirley grew up at Alcoota as the eldest child of five girls; Thelma, Elizabeth, Maureen and Dianne Dixon. She paints both the stories that belong to her father's country and her mother's. Like her mother, she speaks the Arrernte language but she also speaks Alyawarre.
Shirley is married to George Club Petyarre (Lena Pwerle's son) and they have two sons. She lives with them at Tomahawk camp in the Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs.
Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs
|2000||Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT Australia|
|2001||Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs, NT Australia|
|2002||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|
|2004||Mbantua Gallery USA exhibitions: Knoxville and Greenwich|
Shirley has painted beautiful fine dot work that represents Ntyemeny, known as the ruby saltbush (Enchylaena tomentosa). A soft greyish shrub with small flowers and bright red or yellow berries, the Ntyemeny is found in abundance around Alice Springs and through out Central Australia in every habitat. The Aboriginal people would eat the Ntyemeny berries when ripe and juicy or reconstitute the dried berries in water. This is not habitual though and is eaten mainly by the children.
There is a Dreamtime story that belongs to the Ntyemeny for Shirley and the people of her country. Ceremonies are performed to demonstrate respect for this story and maintain the existence of the Ntyemeny plant.