Barbara Weir

Australia

Barbara Weir was born in 1945 at what was formerly known as Bundy River Station. Her country is Atnwengerrp and her language is Anmatyerre and Alyawarr. Barbara’s mother (Minnie Pwerle) is Aboriginal and her father is Irish, and as she was of a mixed heritage, she was taken away from her family at the age of nine. This was a common event for half caste children at that time, and these people are now known as the stolen generation.Barbara was fostered out to various families, first in Alice Springs, then in Victoria, and Darwin. During these years she lost contact with her family but was determined to return and re-claim her heritage.In the late 1960s Barbara and her six children returned to Utopia. There she was re-united with Emily Kame Kngwarreye, who had looked after her as a child. The reunion was a happy one although Barbara was unable to communicate with the family, as she did not know the language. Eventually, Barbara mastered both the Anmatyerre and Alyawarr languages.On returning to her home and her unique relationship with Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Barbara became interested in painting. In 1994, Barbara and other Aboriginal women travelled to Indonesia to learn more about the art of batik.

She returned from Indonesia full of ideas for developing her own style. In 1996 Barbara travelled to Switzerland and Paris at the request of a gallery owner who commissioned some of Barbara’s paintings. Every painting was snapped up by private collectors and this proved to be the turning point in her life.

 


 

Grass Seed
1999
acrylic on canvas
91 x 70 cm w