Jeannie Pula Mills
Known also as: Jeannie Mills Pwerl
Date of Birth: 15 May 1965
Jeannie Mills Pwerl is an Alywarre woman from the Utopia region in Central Australia. She lives in a remote bushland area of Utopia, 300 kilometers North East of Alice Springs with a small family group of Aboriginal people. She is the daughter of well know Utopian artist Dolly Mills Petyarre and the niece of acclaimed artist and traditional elder, the late Greeny Purvis Petyarre. As well as an acclaimed artist, Jeannie is also a Ngangker, or traditional healer within the community, and was taught the ancient and important knowledge of bush medicine and healing.
Raised by a generation of indigenous artists who were part of the batik producing generation of the 1970s, Jeannie was exposed to the success that these artists experienced as they began to experiment with acrylic on canvas. She inherited the Yam Dreaming from her mother, however as an artist, she has depicted this dreaming in a unique style which is all her own.
Using a variety of colours in each brush stroke, she builds up a pattern of harmonious colours, defined by a multitude of fine white dots, executed with intricate detail. Her paintings catch the viewer’s attention with a sense of movement, created by the subtle variations in each brush stroke. She creates mostly vivid, variegated colour tones, which subtly change, deepen or brighten with every nuance of light.
The Bush Yam is a staple food source for Aboriginal people living in the Central desert region. Jeannie focuses her artwork on the seeds and blossom of the desert yam and on the associated women's ceremony. By depicting the Yam Dreaming in their paintings, indigenous artists are able to pay homage to this significant plant and encourage continual rejuvenation. The Bush Yam Dreaming is shared by several other Utopian artists, including the prominent late artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye, however Jeannie's works are unique to her and immediately recognisable.
In 2004 Jeannie further developed her contemporary depiction of the Bush Yam, and in a short period of time she had captivated buyers and collectors worldwide. In 2008 she was a finalist in Australia’s most prestigious Indigenous art award, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, with her entry Bush Yam. Her creative and unique style has propelled her artistic career, receiving recognition by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and having participated in various exhibitions around Australia. Jeannie is now an established professional artist, whose works are included in many private collections in Australia and overseas.