Bessie Purvis Pijara was born in the 1960’s and is from Alhalkere country in the Utopia Region, approximately 3 hours from Alice Springs in Central Australia. Bessie’s mother is the renowned Utopian artist, Polly Ngale. Her Aunt’s Kathleen Ngale and Angelina Pwerle are also well known artists. In Aboriginal culture aunts are also referred to as other mothers and their relationships are just as valuable and important as a mother to her children.
Bessie has been supported and taught her culture and the technique of Dreamtime depiction by her mother and aunts throughout her life. Like many Utopian artists, Bessie, was introduced to modern mediums in the 1970’s as a young child. She has always been around artists and has learnt her skills from her mother. She began experimenting with Batik silk painting in her early twenties as this had become a popular source of income during that time. Her Dreamings come from both her parents, learning the Antwelarr and Kame Dreamtime from her father and the Anwekety Dreaming from her mother.
Bessie’s style is very similar to that of her mother and aunties, having been taught the Bush Plum story from them. The Bush Plum is an important source of food for Bush Women and today they still gather the plums once the fruit ripens to maturity. Bessie’s paintings depics the Bush Plum and the effect of its growth patterns on her country. She illustrates the topography in shades of reds, oranges and yellows and pinks, purples and plums reflecting the varying seasonal palette. She builds up layer upon layer of colour creating a multi-dimensional effect to reveal the Bush Plum – and her country – Alparra in all its glory.
Bessie comes from a family and region which has produced some of the most prolific Aboriginal artists. Her artwork is affordable using larger sized canvases to captivate her audience. She is an emerging artist who shares an important story of her country and culture with art lovers. Bessie has the appropriate cultural knowledge to depict her Dreamtime stories and has the appropriate mentorship around her in her mother and aunts.