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Lizzie Moss Pwerle

Lizzie Moss Pwerle was born in the 1940s, Lizzie is an artist from the Utopian region of the Northern Territory. Utopia is an Indigenous community located approximately 300km north east of Alice Springs. Lizzie is from a family of well established artists, including her Aunty, Queenie Morton and her older sister, Minnie Pwerle (they share the same father but have a different mother). Both Minnie Pwerle and Lizzie Moss Pwerle share the same totemic Dreaming story of their Country, Atnwengerrp (an area of Utopia).

Lizzie mainly paints the story of the northern wild orange, known as Akarley in Lizzie's language. The small slender tree of this wild orange plant grows about 3½ m high with dark bark and weeping foliage. The wild orange hang down on long stalks, turning yellow or a red tint when ripe; most commonly during the month of February. Young fruit are often ripened in hot sand. The Akarley is generally favoured as a better fruit than others of this species by the Aboriginal people.

Lizzie has illustrated the leaves of Akarley, and fine dot work portraying her country. There is an ancient Dreamtime story of the Akarley, belonging to her country Atnwengerrp, which Lizzie and other women of her country share with younger generations of women and girls. Akarley is an important fruit of her land and ceremonies are performed to ensure the health and well-being of this plant, both spiritually and physically.

Lizzie was there when the women from Utopia first caught the attention of the international art world with the Batik project of the late 1970s and the move to painting in the 1980s. Since then she has featured in a number of important group exhibitions, but it is only in the last decade or so that her singular style has really caught the eye of galleries and collectors.