Sale Artwork of the Week: 'Mother's Country' by Barbara Weir (76c106cm)
For details please go to http://ow.ly/hufh50fsfP5
Barbara Weir was born in 1945 at Bundy River Station in the region of Utopia, North East of Alice Springs; her mother the late Minnie Pwerle, renowned Utopia and Australian artist, and her father an Irish station owner Jack Weir.
Her idyllic childhood was disrupted when at the age of ten Barbara was suddenly taken from her family by welfare from Utopia Station (now known as Utopia Homestead), as she was collecting water. She is one of the people known as the "stolen generation". Barbara was taken to Alice Springs, but because she kept speaking her Anmatyerre and Alyawarr tongue, was moved further away to children's homes and foster families around Australia, eventually ending up in Darwin. During these years she was forced to speak English, and was told that her mother had passed away. Though she lost contact with her family she was determined to return to them, however she only knew her home as 'Atnwengerrp', the Anmatyerre word for her home. Eventually, this was the only word she could remember in her language.
A fortuitous conversation while in Alice Springs lead to Barbara finding her family.
The reunion was a happy one, but it was marred by the fact that Barbara was unable to communicate with the family, as she had forgotten her language. In 1977 Barbara returned to the land of her birth, with her three children for good. Over the coming years, Barbara had three more children and reclaimed her Anmatyerre and Alyawarr languages. Barbara's children had the opportunity to grow up surrounded by their extended family, understand where they came from, as well as learning the lore. This depth of knowledge arguably explains why Barbara Weir's daughters have become great artists in their own right; they paint with a confidence and assertiveness only possible when there is an intimate knowledge of subject matter. .
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