Awelye is the Anmatyerre word for Women's Ceremonies and also refers to the designs applied to womenʼs bodies as part of Ceremony.
Only Aboriginal women perform Awelye as this is womenʼs business and is never conducted in the presence of men. By evoking and remembering their Ancestors and showing respect for their Country highlights the importance of the land and community. As a womanʼs role is typically seen as a maternal figure, Awelye connects the land with fertility to celebrate the food it provides and also, for the land to continue to flourish.
Awelye ceremony consists of the women painting each otherʼs bodies with organic materials such as ochre, charcoal or ash. They paint specific designs that relate to a woman's Dreaming, skin name and position within the community. During the body painting, the women sing their Dreaming while performing ceremonial dance.
Betty Club Mbitjana and Katie Morton Kemarre are two Anmatyerre painters who commonly depict ‘Awelye’ in their works.