Grass Seed Dreaming


Tribe: Anmatyerre Area: Arnhem Land Born: c. 1940 Barbara Weir was born in 1945 in Utopia, N.T. Barbara’s mother is the well-known aboriginal artist Minnie Pwerle and her father an Irishman. At the age of nine, Barbara was taken away from her family, which was typical of the times particularly for children of mixed heritage. These children who were taken away from their family and lands are now collectively known as the stolen generation. Barbara lost track of her family as she was fostered out to various families in Alice Springs, Victoria and Darwin. Though separated, Barbara was determined to return to her country and re-claim her heritage. In the late 1960’s Barbara and her six children returned to Utopia. It was here that Barbara was able to re-connect with her community. She was re-united with Emily Kame Kngwarreye who had looked after her as a child. Barbara’s interest in painting grew from her unique relationship with Emily and has now emerged as one of Australia’s leading artists. Barbara uses warm colours and short strokes, which overlap and weave to create the swaying effect of moving grass. This grass is found throughout the year, can grow up to 15 cm long and is reddish in colour. The seed is an important staple food of traditional Aboriginal communities.


The Australian National Gallery, Canberra The National Gallery of Victoria Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane Artbank Queensland College of Art Grifith University, Brisbane University of Adelaide AMP Collection

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