Indigenous Australian art gallery est. 1989.

Cowboy Louie Pwerle Biography and CV

View Cowboy Louie Pwerle's Paintings

Born in 1941 at the sheep yard camp on Old MacDonald Downs Station in central Australia, Cowboy Louie Pwerle is an Eastern Anmatyerre man. He is also an excellent stockman, as are all the men in his family. He lives up to his name by wearing cowboy shirts, boots and Akubra hats. Cowboy has always had a strong relationship with the Holt family, as did his father before him, having known Jessie Chalmers and her family (Don Holt’s mother), who also grew up on Old MacDonald Downs Station.

Cowboy now lives close to his Country at Mosquito Bore on Utopia, a former pastoral lease returned to its traditional owners in 1978. He also spends time at Boundary Bore (Atneltyeye) on the western boundary of Utopia and Soakage Bore (Atnarare), south-east of Lyentye. He lives there with his two wives, and his sisters Carol and Elizabeth Kngwarreye. Cowboy is the younger brother of Louie Pwerle (now deceased), who was also a well known artist, and custodian of a selection of Dreaming sites over the same area of land. His sites and animals are lesser in significance than Louie's, but more varied. Cowboy was encouraged to begin painting by Louie and in some cases would depict certain stories under his authority. This happened in particular with some later works, where Louie gave Cowboy permission to paint about men’s initiation ceremonies, which Louie was in charge of.

However, predominantly, Cowboy depicts the nesting places of the Bush Hen (or Bush Turkey) and the bird’s travels whilst searching for food, mating and tending to its chicks. In his Dreaming, the Bush Hen roams the land leaving tracks between and by the soakages (places of water) in Atnwengerrp land on Utopia. In his paintings, these tracks are represented as dotted lines, and the soakages are depicted as geometric circles. Whilst Cowboy depicts the Bush Hen’s journey and his ceremonial duties ensure the bird’s continuity, the bird is also an excellent food source so its proximity to the soakages (and therefore, people) would ensure easy hunting. Cowboy also paints the Emu (Ankerr) Tucker Dreaming and Lizard (Arlewatyerr) Dreaming.

Cowboy Louie Pwerle's intricate artworks have great movement and depth, evoking the contours and colours of his Country. His works are storytelling maps, with place and movement depicted in great detail. Cowboy has continued to pass on his stories to his grandson, as his father and brother passed onto him.



National Gallery of Victoria
Museum of Victoria, Melbourne
The Coventry Collection, Sydney
The Holt Collection
Art Gallery of South Australia
Benalla Art Gallery
Stichting Sint-Jan, Brugge, Netherlands
The Casama Group, Melbourne
Major private collectors in Australia and internationally



2017  The Golden Age of Utopia, Aboriginal Signature Estrangin gallery, Brussels, Belgium
2016  Camel Camp & Beyond, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA
2015  Aboriginal art, Wimbledon Fine Arts, London
2014  Dot Code: Desert Artists, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, WA
2014  Indigenous Group Show, Without Pier Art Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2012  Belongings, Australasian Arts Projects, Singapore
2011  Aboriginal Art from Utopia, Without Pier Art Gallery, Melbourne
2010  Aboriginal Artists UK Spring Show, London
2010  Salon des Refuses, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2010  59th Blake Prize, National Art School Gallery, Sydney,NSW
2010  The Utopia Story, Australasian Arts Project, Singapore
2009  An Individual Perspective: From the Collection of Lauraine Diggins, Deakin University Art Gallery, Burwood, VIC
2009  Blake Prize, The Blake Society, National Art School Gallery, Sydney (finalist) 
2008  Power of Place, Paintings and Sculpture from the Eastern Desert, Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural Institute Inc, Adelaide
2008  Annual Collectors’ Exhibition, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne, VIC
2008  Sydney Art & Antiques Fair 2008, Sydney NSW
2008  Moscow World Fine Art Fair, Manege, Moscow, Russia
2008  Impulse to Paint: The Artists of Iylenty, Utopia, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne
2007  Eastern Desert Dreaming, Artists from Utopia, GalleryG, Brisbane
2007  Patterns of Power, Art from the Eastern Desert, Simmer on the Bay, Sydney
2007  ArtParis 2007, Grand Palais, Paris FRANCE
2007  Visions of Utopia, Cooee Aboriginal Art, Sydney NSW
2007  Memory As Landscape, Masterpiece @ IXL, Hobart TAS
2007  Utopia Today, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne, VIC
2006  ArtParis 2006, Grand Palais, Paris FRANCE
1997  William Mora Gallery
1993  Aptos Cruz Gallery, Adelaide
1993  Hogarth Galleries, Sydney
1992  Aptos Cruz Gallery, Adelaide
1992  Hogarth Galleries, Sydney
1992  Aptoz Cruz Gallery, Adelaide
1991  Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
1991  Eastern Desert Art, Brisbane
1990  Deutscher Gallery, Melbourne


2012  Finalist, Blake Art Prize
2009  Finalist, Blake Art Prize
2008  Finalist, Albany Art Prize


The Dictionary of Western Desert Artists, Johnson, V., 1994, Craftsman House, East Roseville, New South Wales.