Awelye (Women's Ceremony) for Arnkerrthe (Mountain Devil Lizard)

Acrylic on Linen
60 x 30cm
Year Painted
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Awelye (Women's Ceremony) for Arnkerrthe (Mountain Devil Lizard)


Catalogue Number:MB009079 ,Width: ,Height:


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Artist Profile

Gloria Tamerre Petyarre Born: 1945 Deceased: 2021 Language Group: Anmaty…

Artist Profile

Gloria Tamerre Petyarre

Born: 1945

Deceased: 2021

Language Group: Anmatyerre

Country: Atnangkere, Utopia Region, North East of Alice Springs

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas, Linen and Paper, Batik on Silk

Subjects: Leaves, Awelye (Women's Ceremony and Body Paint Designs), Arnkerrthe (Mountain Devil Lizard), Alpeyt (Wild Flowers), Ntyerrm (Seed of the Dogwood Tree), Ntang (Seed)

Gloria Petyarre has participated in both group and solo exhibitions since the 1980's. She has travelled to Ireland, London, Paris, USA, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries exhibiting her works. Her work is included in the collections of the Australian National State Galleries including the National Gallery of Australia, also the Powerhouse Museum Sydney, Westpac New York, Holmes á Court and many other private collections. In 1999 Gloria won the prestigious art award, the Wynne Prize, for the Best Australian Landscape.

Gloria first gained recognition in silk batik which began at Utopia in 1978 with exhibitions held nationally and internationally. In 1988 Gloria was part of the very first group to experiment with canvas, called the Summer Project, and Gloria has since continued to work in this medium.

Awelye, the women's ceremonial body paint designs, was the subject of Gloria's very first painting, she recalls. Over the years Gloria has applied many methods of enhancing the simple linear work in her Awelye paintings, including using sponges, hand work and a toilet brush.

One of Gloria's most important Dreamtime stories is that of Arnkerrthe, the Mountain Devil Lizard. Arnkerrthe travelled over Gloria's land creating all of the people, sacred sites, songs and other Dreamtime stories. In its neck it holds a sac of ochre that Gloria and her people use for ceremonies. Gloria has developed a very popular style for Arnkerrthe Dreaming that she calls the 'swirly ones'. A unique design by Gloria, these swirls represent the thorny skin on the back of this gentle little lizard.

By far the most well known of all Gloria's paintings is Leaves. In April 1994 at Mosquito Bore in Utopia, Gloria began doing something new on her canvas.

'That first one. I was looking, looking. Looks like leaf, and I been put another one and another one and 'ah yeah'. First leaf.' (Gloria Petyarre).

This painting can be viewed in the Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum. Throughout the years this design has become more refined, leaves aren't just scattered on the ground but rather picked up in swift passing zephyrs, entangled in whirls of wind and swept across the landscape. This life energy attributed to the success of Leaves, winning Gloria the very prestigious Wynne Prize in 1999, and highly recommended in 2004. The Wynne prize is awarded annually for the best landscape painting of Australian scenery or for the best example of figure sculpture by Australian artists. Gloria became the first Australian artist commissioned by Hermes, the international fashion brand based in Paris. Gloria's Leaves design was selected by Hermes for their 2009 collection and was released internationally. The design features on Hermes' silk scarves as one of its spring/summer 2009 collection with the theme 'Invitation to travel'. Gloria's design was titled 'Le Reve de Gloria' which means 'Gloria's dreaming'.

Awards, Acquisitions and Accolades

1995 Recipient of a Fellowship Grant from the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council

1999 Winner of the Wynne Prize for the Best Australian Landscape Painting

2004 Highly Commended, Wynne Prize for Best Australian Landscape Painting

2008 Centrefold, Mbantua Gallery and Cultural Museum Newsletter, Issue 21 January 2008


Allen, Allen & Hemsley

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Art Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne


British Museum, London

Campbelltown City Art Gallery

Flinders University, South Australia

Griffith University Collection

Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Surfers Paradise

The Holmes á Court Collection, Perth

Macquarie Bank

Mbantua Gallery Permanent Collection, Alice Springs

Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery

Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane

Queensland University of Technology

Singapore Art Museum, Singapore

Supreme Court, Brisbane

University of New South Wales, Sydney

University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford U.S.A

Westpac, New York

Wollongong City Art Gallery

Exhibitions (From 2005)

2005 Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs
2006 Evolution of Utopia, Mbantua Gallery Cultural Museum, Alice Springs
2007 Patterns of Power, Art from the Eastern Desert, Simmer on the Bay, Sydney
2010 DACOU Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2014 Narrativa Herióca - Pintura Aborígine do Deserto Australiano - Renaissance Hotel, São Paulo, Brazil
2014 Arca Urbana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2017 'Into Abstraction II: Interconnections', Macquarie University Art Gallery, NSW

Further References

Stanislawsk-Birnberg, M. 1990, Journeylines©
Morphy, H. 1998, Aboriginal Art, Published Phaidon ©
Isaacs, J. 1999, Spirit Country, Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art, Hardie Grant Books ©
Desart, Art Centres of Central Australia 2000, Putting in the Colour – Contemporary Aboriginal Textiles, Jukurrpa Books (IAD Press) ©
Brody, A. 1989 Utopia Women's Paintings The First Works on Canvas, A Summer Project 1988-89,, Heytesbury Holdings, Perth.
Brody, A. 1990, Utopia: a Picture Story, 88 Silk Batiks from the Robert Holmes a Court Collection


Artist Name, Artwork Size, Medium, Year Painted,


Artist Name:
Gloria Tamerre Petyarre
Artwork Size:
60 x 30cm
Acrylic on Linen
Year Painted:
Awelye (Women's Ceremony) for Arnkerrthe (Mountain Devil Lizard)
Free Shipping Worldwide!:
This painting on linen will be shipped in a cylinder to you free of charge, worldwide! An option to have this painting 'stretched' onto a wooden frame may be available. If selected, further charges will apply and will be calculated at checkout.


The linear work in Gloria's painting represents Awelye (Women's Ceremony and Body Paint Designs) for the Arnkerrthe Dreamtime story. This story belongs to the people from Atnangkere and Alhalkere country in the Utopia region, northeast of Alice Springs. The women smear their bodies with animal fat then trace these patterns onto their breasts, arms and thighs. Powders ground from red and yellow ochre (clays), charcoal and ash are used as body paint and applied with a flat stick with soft padding. The women sing as each woman takes her turn to be 'painted-up'. Their songs relate to the ancestral travels of the Mountain Devil Lizard as it makes the long journey north to Waramugu country, carrying the ochre for body paint in the small sac on the back of its neck.

The Mountain Devil Lizard has the ability to camouflage itself by changing colours. The traditional colours used for ceremony are ochre red, yellow and white.
Located at
Mbantua Alice Gallery

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