Cowboy Loy


When I (Sabine Haider, Director of Central Art) think of Cowboy Louie Pwerle, three things come to mind, a family man and gentleman, a strong traditional man and a very well dressed cowboy at heart. Cowboy Louie comes from Utopia in Central Australia. He was born in 1941 at old MacDonald Station in the Utopia region. He is the younger brother of Louie Pwerle (who has passed away) who was an important Utopian artist from Central Australia. It was his brother who taught him the technique of painting with acrylics on canvas.

Cowboy’s traditional country lies on the western side of the Sandover River at Utopia Station and stretches west to Mount Skinner. He is an Eastern Anmatyerre speaker, which is one of two language groups who reside in the area. Cowboy got his nickname by his reputation as a stockman and he is always dressed in cowboy attire. He lives at Mosquito Bore with his two wives, sisters, Carol and Elizabeth Kngwarreye.

Cowboy is the custodian of three Dreamings, the Bush Turkey, Emu and Lizard. His works show the turkey roaming the areas around traditional sites at Utopia in search of food. The turkey leaves tracks on the land and through water soakages. Cowboy Louie uses detailed micro dots which have become his trademark. The overall visual effect on the painting is exquisite to the eye. Central Art features two artworks which depict the story of the Bush Turkey, they are slightly different interpretations, one with triangular sections and the
other with circular depictions however they both tell the story of the Bush Turkey throughout its journey. Both paintings were created in 2008 and are good examples of Cowboys fine dotting style and the precision of his works.

Cowboy is also known for his wooden carving with some of his animal pieces – Echidna and Kangaroo displayed in galleries around Australia. He has been painting for Alice Springs galleries since 1991 and his artworks have been exhibited around Australia and overseas. He continues to pass on the Dreaming to his grandson, as his father did to him, carrying on an important and sacred tradition.

His artworks can be found in several collections around Australia and he is a worthy addition for any collector. Coming from a family group of well known artists and he certainly has a talent for fine detailed artworks. He is not a full time artist as he is a traditional Utopian man and continues to carry out cultural business, teachings and caring for country and family. His works are not mass produced adding to the value and collectability of them. He is a favourite artist of mine and you couldn’t meet a nicer elder with so many stories to share. In my opinion he brings an important interpretation of Utopian art, particularly from a man’s perspective.