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Date of Birth : c.1945
Country : Utopia Station, NT
Language : Anmatyerre

Barbara Weir was born about 1945 at Bundy River Station, a cattle station in the Utopia region of the Northern Territory. Her parents were Minnie Pwerle, one of Utopia’s most well known and respected Aboriginal women artists, and Jack Weir, a married Irish man, their relationship was illegal, and the two were jailed. Jack Weir died not long after his release from jail.

Barbara Weir was partly raised by Pwerle’s sister-in-law Emily Kngwarreye in Utopia. She grew up in the area until about age nine, where as a victim of the stolen generation, Barbara was taken from her family as a young child and assimilated into white society.

It was not until the 1960‘s that Barbara returned to her homeland of Utopia and was taken under the wing of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, arguably the most famous and sought after female Aboriginal artist. The bond between mentor and student was so strong that Barbara referred to Emily as ‘Aunty Emily.‘

Undoubtedly it was this relationship that has influenced her painting style as much as her experience as a member of the Stolen Generation. The potent fusion of traditional Aboriginal spirituality and modern white culture characterises her work.


Barbara became active in the local land rights movement of the 1970s and was elected the first woman president of the Indigenous Urapunta Council in 1985. She did not begin painting until 1989 at about age 45. She also has managed her mother, Aboriginal artist, Minnie Pwerle, (deceased) as her work became popular and in demand by collectors.

In 1994, she was one of a group of ten Utopia women who travelled to study batik in Indonesia. Her paintings are inspired by deep Aboriginal traditions



Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Art Gallery of Queensland, Brisbane

Artbank, Sydney

Queensland College of Art Griffith University

Ebes Collection-Workum, The Netherlands

University of Adelaide, Adelaide

AMP Collection

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Hank Ebes Collection

Holmes a Court Collection

Hitachi Collection

Macquarie Bank Collection



1995, 1997, 2003, Dacou Gallery, Adelaide

1995 Davis Avenue Gallery, Melbourne

1996, 2002, Framed Gallery, Darwin

1996 Gallery Woo Mang and Partners, Paris, France

1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne

1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney

1996, 1997, 1998, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane

1997, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

1997 Hogarth Galleries, Sydney

1997 Sutton Gallery, Melbourne

1997 Barry Stern Gallery, Sydney

1998 ARTEXPO, New York, USA

1998, 2001, Chapman Gallery, Canberra

1998 Adelaide Festival Theatre, Adelaide

1998 Exhibited extensively in Europe including: Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands

1999, 2002, Japingka Gallery, Perth

1999, 2000, 2001, Tandanya, Adelaide

1999, 2000, 2002, Gallery Savah, Sydney

2000 ArtSauce, Singapore

2000 Redback Art Gallery, Brisbane

2000 AMP Building, Sydney

2001, “Women’s Business”, Chicago, USA

2001 Mbantua Gallery, Alice Springs

2002 Knut Grothe Galeri, Charlottlenlund, Copenhagen, Denmark

2003 Alison Kelly G llery, Melbourne

2003 Glen Eira City Council Gallery, Melbourne

2004 Group Exhibition, Kimberley Art, Noosa Heads, Qld

2006 Solo exhibition, “Recent Paintings”, Gallery Savah,,Sydney, NSW.

2006 ‘Utopia’, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.

2006 Group exhibition, APS Bendi Lango Art Exhibition, Rio Tinto Offices, Melbourne, VIC.

2007 Group exhibition, Robert Steele Gallery, NY, USA.

2007 “Standing on Ceremony”, Tandanya Cultural Institute, Adelaide, SA.

2007 Utopia exhibition, Robert Steele Gallery, NY, USA.

2007 Group exhibition, Australian Embassy, Washington, USA.

e, Adelaide.

2007 “Best of the Best”, group exhibition, Gallery Framed, Darwin, NT.

2007 Solo exhibition, “Blowing in the Wind”, Artmob, Hobart, Tasmania

2007 “New Works from Utopia”, Space Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

2008 “Utopia Revisited”, NG Art Gallery, Chippendale, NSW.

2008 Group exhibition, “Utopia Discoveries”, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.

2008 Group travelling exhibition to capital cities of Australia,“EWB Elements”, Dacou Art in conjunction with Dreamtime Art.

2008 “Blue: A Group Exhibition”, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane, QLD.

2008 “Walking Together to Aid Aboriginal Health”, Shalom Gamarada Aboriginal Art Exhibition, University of NSW

2008 Solo Exhibition, Gecko Gallery, Broome, WA.

2009 “Utopia, Color’s of the Desert”, Gongpyeong Art Space in conjunction with Dacou, Australian Embassy in Korea & Crossbay Gallery, Seoul, Korea.

2009 Solo exhibition, Janet Holmes Á Court Gallery, Perth, WA.

2009 My Country’, solo exhibition, Dacou Gallery Melbourne, Middle Park, VIC.

2010 “ In the Footprints of Barbara Weir exhibition” Central Art, Alice Springs



McCulloch, Susan (2005). “Late bloomer [Profile of artist Minnie Pwerle]”. Australian Art Collector 32 (Apr–Jun 2005): 84–88.

Dean, J (1984) Tasmania v Commonwealth. 158 CLR. p. 243.

Gardiner-Garden, John (5 December 2000). “The Definition of Aboriginality “. Department of the Parliamentary Library Research Note 18. Retrieved 2 June 2010.

“Who can identify as an Indigenous Australian person?”. What Works: The Work Program. Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Archived from the original on 20 September

“Who are indigenous peoples?”. Indigenous peoples, Indigenous voices: fact sheet. United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Usher, Robin (15 July 2004). “Joining dots on the way to Utopia”. The Age. Retrieved 13 July 2010.

McCulloch, Alan; Susan McCulloch, Emily McCulloch Childs (2006). The new McCulloch’s Encyclopaedia of Australian Art. Fitzroy, VIC: Aus Art Editions in association with The Miegunyah Press. p. 139. ISBN 052285317X.

Fortescue, Elizabeth; Werner Obermeier (2008). Art of Utopia. Adelaide, SA: Boomerang Art. pp. 91–92.

Lacey, Stephen (18 November 2006). “Spirited away, but with a happy ending”. The Sydney Morning Herald.

Beck, Chris (18 February 2006). “The Pwerle Sisters”

“Emily in Japan Part 1”. Message Stick (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 26 July 2009.

Read, Peter (1981) (PDF). The Stolen Generations: The Removal of Aboriginal Children in New South Wales 1883 to 1969. Department of Aboriginal Affairs (New South Wales government). ISBN 0-646-46221-0.

Geissler, Marie (2006). “A recovered heritage”. Craft Arts International 66: 36–39.

King, Victoria (2000). “Barbara Weir”. In Sylvia Kleinert and Margo Neale. The Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. p. 736. ISBN 0195506499.

Fortescue, Elizabeth; Werner Obermeier (2008). Art of Utopia. Adelaide, SA: Boomerang Art. pp. 6–17.

Birnberg, Margo; Janusz Kreczmanski (2004). Aboriginal Artist Dictionary of Biographies: Australian Western, Central Desert and Kimberley Region. Marleston, South Australia: J.B. Publishing. p. 434. ISBN 1-876622-47-4.

Green, Jenny (2007). “Holding the country: art from Utopia and the Sandover”. In Hetti Perkins & Margie West. One Sun One Moon: Aboriginal Art in Australia. Sydney: Art G

ALLERY OF NEW SOUTH WALES. P. 206. ISBN 9780734763600


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