Awely (Body Paint)


Joy Jones’ inspiration for her paintings is derived from her knowledge of Awely (body paint) or women’s business. Awely describes everything associated with women’s ceremonies or rituals including the painted designs adorning the women’s bodies.

In preparation for the ceremonies, the women paint designs on the top half of their body using a variety of powders, ground from charcoal and yellow and red ochre. The body paint designs vary from ceremony to ceremony and depend on the subject and the time of year the ceremony is held. Different symbols are painted on the body and may vary from person to person depending on the seniority of each member. Joy Kngwarreye Jones’s paintings represent her interpretation of these designs which she views from an aerial perspective.

Note: The women’s ceremonies are focal points in the life of the community and are integral to the happiness and well being of the people. They gather together and sing and dance led by the most senior women of the clan group. It is at these ceremonial gatherings that the women, especially the younger ones, are taught the tribal dreamings or rules of life by the senior women.



  • 1989, Utopia Women’s Paintings, the First Works on Canvas, A Summer Project, 1988-89, S. H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney
  • 1990, Utopia – A Picture Story, an exhibition of 88 works on silk from the Holmes a Court Collection by Utopia artists which toured Eire & Scotland
  • 2006 – Senior Women of Utopia, GalleryG, Brisbane
  • 2007 – Patterns of Power, Art from the Eastern Desert, Simmer on the Bay, Sydney.
  • 2007 – Eastern Desert Dreaming, Artists from Utopia, GalleryG, Brisbane
  • 2007 – Eastern Desert Song – Brush with Art Festival, Prairie Hotel, Parachilna
  • 2008 – Power of Place, Paintings and Sculpture from the Eastern Desert, Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural Institute Inc.
  • 2008 – From the Desert to the Sea, Yurlunggar Art, Brisbane
  • 2009 – East-West-Brush With Art, Prairie Hotel, Parachilna, South Australia
  • 2009 – Aboriginal art in Korea, Gong Pyeong Art Space, Seoul, Korea
  • 2010 – The Utopia Story, Australasian Arts Projects, Singapore
  • 2010 – Western and Eastern Desert Art, Blaxlands Inn, Hunter Valley, NSW
  • 2010 – Aboriginal Artists UK Spring Show 11-13 June, London
  • 2011 – Utopian Aboriginal Art, Without Pier Art Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2011 – Desert Visions, Prairie Hotel, Parachilna, South Australia
  • 2012 – Prairie Hotel, Parachilna, South Australia
  • 2013 – Aboriginal Artists UK Show , London
  • 2014 -Prairie Hotel, Parachilna, South Australia
  • 2014 – Indigenous Group Show, Without Pier Art Gallery, Melbourne


Additional information

Dimensions 120 × 150 cm