Gracie NGALA (PURLE) MORTON
Birth date unknown
Region: Alhalkere, Utopia Region
State: Northern Territory
Gracie Ngala Morton was born in the Utopia region, although her exact birth date is not known. Daughter of well-known artist, Myrtle Petyarre, Gracie Morton continues the rich artistic tradition that encompasses family members who include Gloria, Kathleen, Violet and Ada Bird Petyarre.
In her early years, like generations before her, Gracie lived a traditional lifestyle collecting bush foods and living off the land.She was to gain artistic recognition as one of the women artist working in batik as part of the CAAMA 88 ‘Utopia: a picture story’, a major work of 88 silk batiks that was acquired by the Robert Holmes à Court Collection.
With the introduction of canvas and acrylic paints into the Utopia community, Gracie like many of the other artists, found the greater freedom and control to their liking and quickly flourished in the new medium. Her early works were typical of the Utopia art of the time, with traditional symbols and ‘dot painting’ style, as well as the incorporation of line work used in ceremonial ‘body-paint designs’. Her work was soon eagerly sought after by collectors from around the world.
Gracie's signature works are her father and aunt’s dreaming the ‘Bush Plum’ known to Alyawarre people as Arnwekety. The works are based on fine ‘dot-work’ and depict the ‘Land and the Bush Plum’.The bush plum is one of the main food staples, a small fruit with black seeds, rich in vitamin C. Eaten raw or cooked, the plant produces a profusion of flowers and fruit that appear through the winter months. The fruit is collected by the women and children.
The beautiful use of colour in her painting of the Amwekety (bush plum), depicts the changing seasonal influences of a plant that has great significance to the Alyawrre women of the Eastern Desert region in the Northern Territory of Australia.
Gracie's works appear in collections throughout the world and she has appeared in many exhibitions.