Teresa McKeeman Purla was born on the 5th of August 1963 in Darwin, Northern Territory.
Growing up, the indigenous artist Teresa McKeeman Purla had often watched her mother the artist Barbara Weir, a great painter, well known in Australia and overseas and the most famous of all of the Aboriginal painters from Utopia, Emily Kngwarreye as they painted. And, one day in 1990 Barbara Weir said to her daughter: "Here's a canvas - paint".
From that day, Teresa began to learn about the dreamings of her people and how to preserve them with paint and canvas
"When I first came here [to Atnwengerrp] they took me to the tracks, just near my home," Teresa said. "This is what gives me the goose bumps. When Nanna Molly mob used to dance. You can actually see the prints where they used to dance in that spot. You can see their footprints. It's so beautiful." Teresa continues to paint the stories of her grandmothers and developed her own unique dotting style for it.
Her story is told in a brief essay by Elizabeth Fortescue in a 200 page illustrated publication called "Art of Utopia". In this publication Elizabeth tells the story of the artist and her family in short essays. It also shows a range of images of paintings by those artists. The book is supplied with each painting by Barbara Weir, Minnie, Galya, Emily and Molly Pwerle as well as Teresa Purla.
In 2008 the book Art of Utopia was published, illustrating side by side a wonderful series of works of Teresa's, her mother Barbara Weir, her grandmother Minnie Pwerle and aunts Gayla, Molly and Emily Pwerle.
Important copyright notice
The Copyright of all images and documentation remains with Sabine Haider. The Australian Copyright Act protects all artists from unauthorised copying by giving control over original works of art to the artist by law. However depending on the use proposed, Sabine Haider from Central Art – Aboriginal Art Store can facilitate reproduction of works with the permission of the artist as we have developed close relationships over the years with many individual painters and craftspeople.
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