Language Group: Alyawarre
Country: Kurrajong Bore, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Subjects: My Grandmother's Story, Atwakeye (Bush Orange) from her father's country, Ahaketye (Bush Plum) from her mother's country
Valorine is the granddaughter of the late Minnie Pwerle (deceased in 2006) who was one of Australia's top female contemporary Indigenous artists. Valorine said, 'When nanna was alive, I looked after her, - cooking, washing, cleaning, etc. I prepared paints and changed water when she did painting. I took out nanna hunting and camping. We caught witchetty grub, kangaroo, goanna, bush banana, sugarbag lots of tucker!'
Valorine has beautiful memories of her younger days in Utopia. She started painting when she was about sixteen. She learnt how to paint by observing Minnie and other family members. After she had her first baby, she stopped painting for a while.
Valorine's father is Keith Morgan Petyarre who is also an artist from Utopia. Her mother passed away when she was young. Currently Valorine lives in Alice Springs with her two sons and one daughter. She predominantly paints 'My Grandmother's Country' and her work reflects the style of Minnie and her aunty, Betty Mpetyane, paintings Awelye (women's ceremony) for Anemangkerr (bush melon) from Atnwengerrp.
Valorine has painted the Awelye (women's ceremonial body paint designs) for the ancestral dreamtime stories of the Anemangkerr (bush melon or tomato) which belong to her grandmother's country, Atnwengerrp, in the Utopia Region. Valorine's grandmother is the late Minnie Pwerle. Valorine inherited the permission to paint this design by her aunty, Betty Mpetyane (daughter of Minnie Pwerle).
The linear pattern of stripes and curves throughout Valorine's painting illustrates the Awelye. After smearing their bodies with animal fat, the women trace these designs onto their breasts, arms and thighs, singing as each woman takes her turn to be 'painted-up'. Their songs relate to the dreamtime stories of ancestral travel, dance and other totemic plants, animals and natural forces. Awelye demonstrates respect for the land. In performing these ceremonies they ensure well-being and happiness within their communities.
The concentric circles represent waterholes. The small circles throughout this painting depict the Anemangkerr.